Andrena vaga (NL: Grijze zandbij) is a mining bee between 11 and 15 millimeters long. Within the family of the mining bees this species is known as a large species. The bee is black with a light gray coat evenly across the thorax and head. The abdomen is bare and shiny black. The male, which is clearly smaller than the female seems to have a white mustache.
The species flies from March to May. Andrena vaga is a specialist who only collects pollen on willow (Salix sp.). The willow needed for a nest site are on average within a radius of 250 meters around it. There are pollen collecting hairs for transport on the hind legs. The species lives in pioneer vegetation. The nests run from 25 to 50 cm vertically downwards and then branch off into multiple side aisles at the end where the widened brood cells are located. There are often many nests together, which are used for many years.
The specimen in the image is leaving the nest.
Image: Schilde (BE) - 22/03/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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