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Gwynne's mining bee Andrena bicolor

Gwynne's mining bee is a rather small Mining Bee, reaching a length of 8 to 10 mm. It is all covered in black hairs, except for striking reddish brown hairs on thorax and legs. The hairs on the head are less striking and blackish or dark greyish in colour. Males usually are of a lighter shade of brown than females are. There is actually only one real look-a-like: Andrena nigroaenea, which is more robustly built and much bigger, reaching a length of 12 to 15 mm.

The females build their nest underground solitarily, but many females may be using the same area. They never form a colony however. The first males appear very early, sometimes as early as February. Females appear much later, reaching a peak in June. There are two generations in a year, which means there is another peak in August. When present, the first generation especially may be abundant. The second generation is comprised of females mainly, males are very scarce and is smaller than the first generation. In general the species is on the wing a long time: from February to September.

This is a common species all over England and Wales. In Scotland and Ireland a local species, mainly along the coast. Common all over Europe, North Africa and part of the Middle East.