Monday 20 April 2015

Observing a Mining Bee Mining

I had finished with my run, and was rewarding myself with a 60p Magnum clone from Jas' place on Banbygate - I'll wager I've written that before somewhere - and had headed to the library to do some research on bird nests for a putative newspaper article when I noticed a little, and now familiar, russet flash of colour on the ground.

Closer inspection revealed it to be a mining bee of some description, although its yellow legs seem to mark it as a different species from the tawny ones I've photographed.

As I watched, it began to dig down into the earth, backside up in the air until that was all was that left visible. Presumably this species lays its eggs underground, although the stripy abdomen would surely indicate this specimen was a male.

It ad almost disappeared completely when an angry ant attacked it, and presumably a dose of formic acid caused the bee to think better of mining here, and fly off.

Sadly my first pictures of the encounter failed, but I still got a few.


Digging down

Getting further in

Ant attack!!!


  1. Wonderful photos and well done spotting it, lovely colour...
    Amanda xx

  2. Thank you, I'd already seen it flying around before it just started digging under my nose!

  3. Well spotted and recorded Simon.

  4. I'm getting very envious of some of your Bee sightings, keep them coming.

  5. Fascinating. I often see bees with a bright orange rump - I shall watch them closely in future to see where they are going.

  6. Thanks for the comments folks, been watching some flower bees with orange faces getting stuck into red dead nettles today, hoping my pics of those turn out to be reasonable! Large white butterflies are up today.

    Keeping looking up, and looking down, is how I try and do it. While not running into trees.

  7. Fascinating photos Simon. Bees always fascinate me. I am starting to see quite a lot of them now.

  8. Interesting post Simon - and great that you were able to get some photos :)

  9. Wonderful captures! Fascinating post, thank you so much for sharing.

  10. Score with the photos. I've never seen a mining bee in action. I think we've had one or two buzzing around the garden, but that and an ice cream sound like a perfect combination!
    Leanne xx

  11. Thank you so much, I just wish I had a better camera. Rather awakward to run with a 300mm lens tough, I'd have thought