Andrenid Bee – Subgenus Melandrena

Andrenid Bee – Subgenus Melandrena
Order Hymenoptera – Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies
Live adult bees photographed at DuPage County, Illinois
Bees & Wasps Index | Stinging Hymenoptera

Andrenid Bee - Subgenus Melandrena

Andrena is the largest genus in the family Andrenidae, and is nearly worldwide in distribution, with the notable exception of Oceania. With over 1,300 species, it is one of the largest of all bee genera. The typical appearance is brown to black with whitish abdominal bands. Some species have completely black abdomen without bands (e.g. this subgenus Melandrena), while others have bands which are centrally interrupted (e.g. in subgenus Micrandrena), and others have red abdomens.

Females often show a black triangle at the abdominal apex. Andrenid bees emerge from the underground cells where their pupae spend the winter, when the temperature ranges from about 20°C to 30°C. They mate, and the females then seek sites for their nest burrows, where they construct small cells containing a ball of pollen mixed with nectar, upon which an egg is laid, before each cell is sealed. Andrena usually prefer sandy soils for a nesting substrate, near or under shrubs to be protected from heat and frost.

Andrenid Queen Bee
Andrenidae Queen is a solitary bee. Andrenid drones can mate with multiple females. Andrena barbarilis

  1., “Subgenus Melandrena
  2. Richard Mitchell Bohart, Arnold S. Menke, Sphecid Wasps of the World: A Generic Revision”
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Order Hymenoptera: Bees, Wasps, & Ants

Hymenoptera (Latin for membrane wing) is a vast assemblage of insects second only to Coleoptera (beetles) in the number of described species. Hymenoptera number some 115,000 species – of which 18,000 live in North America. Hymenopterans inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and show an incredible diversity in size, behavior, structure and color.
Insects & Spiders | Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps