Andrenidae: Mining and Miner Bees

categories: Andrenidae Bees Pollinators

revision date: 2023-03-24 12:00

Close-up of Mining bee (Andrena sp.) on rabbitbrush flowers.
Mining bee (Andrena sp.) on rabbitbrush flowers
Photo by: D. James


The Andrenidae are a large, nearly cosmopolitan family of solitary, ground-nesting bees. Andrena is a large and diverse genus of about 400 species in North America and many are specialist pollinators whose life cycle is timed to the blooming of specific flowers. Andrenidae are abundant in spring and are among the first bees to emerge in late winter. They are small to moderate-sized bees (0.3-0.7 inches) and most are black, blue or green and moderately hairy. They have large pollen-collecting hairs on the upper part of their hind legs. Andrenid females dig burrows into sandy soil and although solitary, nest in aggregations. There is only one emergence annually, usually in early spring.