The Gwynne’s Mining Bee (Andrena bicolor) is an insect in the Andrenidae family of mining bees.
The Gwynne’s Mining Bee has a dark head, reddish-brown hairs on its thorax, and indistinct bands of yellowish hairs on its abdomen. It has translucent wings. It has small black antennae and six black legs.
It grows to about 1 centimetre (between half an inch and one inch) long.
It is common and widespread across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. It prefers grasslands and open woodlands. It is seen from March to August.
It is a polylectic pollinator, which means that it collects pollen from a wide range of flowers. The female collects the pollen.
It is a solitary bee, and does not live in hives or swarms.
The female builds a nest in loose soil or bare ground, so it is difficult to see. She lays eggs which hatch into larvae. After moulting a few times, the larva spins a cocoon and pupates. It metamorphoses into an adult bee.
Location of photographs: Paris, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM