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Andrena on a white flower
Andrena on a white flower


Andrena
Andrena are a genus within the bee family comprising more than 1500 species and about 100 sub-groups. 150 species are found in Europe 110 of which can be found in Germany. The latter include the Andrena vaga, Andrena fulva, the Andrena cineraria and the Andrena haemorrhoa.
Andrena - collecting nectar
Andrena - collecting nectar
Andrena are found on the northern continents in warm, dry habitats. Andrena nest in sandy soils with free spaces, with a female supplies his nest alone. Sometimes many nests are built in close proximity to each other.
Andrena are from 5 to 16 mm in length. They vary in colour from black to black-red tones and can also have a metallic sheen. Their hair is like fur and they often have a bright hairy towel on the abdomen. Andrena are counted among the bees which collect by their legs, because the pollen - with the aid of their legs - gets located to their leg hairs. On the sides of the propodeum (the first abdominal segment), the female has a "basket" (made from her hairs) used to transport the pollen to the nest.
After mating the females dig deep passageways, from 50 to 600 mm, into the ground, often with side galleries. The eggs are stored individually on pollen and nectar. When the larvae hatch they feed on the pollen and nectar until they pupate. The adult bees hatch in late summer and leave the nest for the first time the following spring. However, there are species that spawn two generations within one year.
The Andrena vaga only collects nectar and pollen from pastureland. Other species only live on pollen from asparagus, Bryony or Potentilla.As brood parasites and nomada bees, the cuckoo bees lay their eggs into the nests of Andrena. Other parasites are the blister beetle, Bombyliidae and Strepsiptera.Andrena, like many wild bees, are of major ecological importance due to their role as plant pollinators.


Further chapters of "Andrena"
- Tawny Mining Bee
- Andrena flavipes
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Andrena on a white flower
2. Andrena - collecting nectar
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