Geoff Jones's picture

What bee is this?

Observed: 11th May 2010 By: Geoff Jones
what bee?.jpg

20 or so of these insects are living amongst the base of a bamboo in a warm, sheltered spot, now in the second year in the same place. This one is about 12mm from head to abdomen. They only fly when the sun is out and the air fairly still. Last year, we had no sign of them beyond mid summer.

    Likely ID
    Nomada sp.
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
    ID agreements (): 3 People
    • DioctriaDioctria’s reputation in InvertebratesDioctria’s reputation in InvertebratesDioctria’s reputation in InvertebratesDioctria’s reputation in InvertebratesDioctria’s reputation in Invertebrates
    • Matt Smith
      Amateur Entomologists' SocietyBees, Wasps and Ants Recording SocietyDipterists ForumPeople's Trust for Endangered SpeciesTachinid Recording Scheme
      Invertebrates expert
    • Martin Harvey
      Berkshire Moth GroupFSC - Field Studies CouncilSoldierflies and Allies Recording SchemeBuckinghamshire Invertebrate Group
      Invertebrates expert
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Geoff Jones's picture

Many thanks. So, I now need

Many thanks.

So, I now need to look for Andrena species in the area I see Nomada. But, how do I know they are raiding pollen from the Andrena I see?

I'm still puzzled why the Nomada are common in one very small area (just a few metres across with most in an area of just one square metre). I'm pretty sure I don't see them in other parts of the garden.

Is it that this is the only place there are nests of Andrena, or is it because this is one of most warm and sheltered spots in the garden? ...

Geoff Jones

Syrphus's picture

You usually only see Nomada

You usually only see Nomada close to the nests of the hosts, Geoff, but you can only be 100% sure of the host if you rear them from a known host nest. I suspect that they are concentrated around the host nests, and these are often very restricted in their location, in bare or thinly vegetated ground in a warm sheltered place - so I think you have partly answered your own question!

Over the summer you could have several Andrena with their respective Nomada in that small patch. But who told you life was simple ...?

To clarify, the Nomada takes over the host nest, so you will not see them making off with a sackload of stolen pollen - they wait until the host stocks the nest, and then lay their eggs to develop on the pollen store.



recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on

Geoff Jones's picture

You have really given

You have really given interesting information about Nomada, so my wife and I will be watching them with even greater interest from now on.

Given that the bees are also associated with a patch of Germander Speedwell, I now wonder if a host could be Andrena labiata, which I think I have seen, but need to be sure I have seen in that particular spot.

Geoff Jones