Each April, we ask people to keep an eye out for one of our rarest and most beautiful solitary bee species.
The Tawny Mining bee (Andrena fulva) was thought to be extinct for 87 years in Ireland, before it was rediscovered in two locations in 2012. Since then we have had records come in from Newcastle-Greystones in Co. Wicklow, and from around Bennettsbridge in Co. Kilkenny.
First sightings for 2019 have been coming in from both counties, so now is the perfect time to keep an eye out. There are probably more locations where this rare bee occurs across the country, and it would be great to try and discover these!
What does the Tawny Mining bee look like?
It is quite large (bumblebee-sized) and the females are very distinctive. The head is distinctly black, the thorax has a neat covering of very deep red hairs and the abdomen is entirely covered in ginger hairs.
Where am I most likely to see it?
Gardens or parks are the best bet. It nests on flat ground, often in lawns. The nest entrances will be surrounded by a volcano-like mound of excavated spoil. Many of the populations discovered to date have been feeding on Berberis, so particularly check around this orange shrub if you know it.
When will I see it?
April is the best time to see it as it has a very, very short flight period. By June, it’ll have largely completed its life-cycle and next year’s generation will be safely hibernating until spring.
Confirmed sightings can be submitted here
I’m very happy to look at photos if you’re not sure if you’ve spotted the right thing. Please send those directly – Email Úna
More information and pictures: https://pollinators.ie/record-pollinators/help-find-the-tawny-mining-bee/