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Andrenid Bees Are Active Now

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Jeffrey Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension

Photo 1: Andrenid bee searching for its nest

Andrenid bees are common in gardens and yards now. Common species are about ½ inch long with a yellow hairy thorax and a shiny black abdomen. Andrenid bees usually overwinter as pupae and emerge as soon as the weather becomes warm. Adults are relatively short-lived, surviving about a month.

Unlike honey bees and bumble bees which are social insects, andrenid bees are solitary with just one bee living in an individual burrow. However, they are also gregarious meaning that many nests can live close together. Andrenid bees like to nest in dry, sunny sites that contain sparse vegetation. People can become concerned when they see dozens of bees flying around a small area. Fortunately, these bees are very docile and nonaggressive and stings are very rare. People who are allergic to honey bee stings are not necessarily allergic to andrenid bees.

Tolerate andrenid bees as much as possible. They are valuable pollinators and all reasonable efforts should be made to preserve them. Because they like dry sites, you may be able to discourage them by keeping an area well-watered. Gardeners may also be able to work around them by working outside during the evening when these bees are less active. Remember, that these bees are active for only about a month and then go away on their own.
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