Buffish Mining Bee

A species of mining bee, the Buffish Mining Bee is a spring-flying bee that nests in bare ground and short turf.

Fast facts

Common name(s)
Buffish Mining Bee
Scientific name
Andrena nigroaenea
Bee group
A species of mining bee, from the genus Andrena
When to see it
April – June


A spring-flying mining bee, the Buffish Mining Bee is one of the first solitary bees to be seen in the year. With a dense ginger coat and orange pollen brush, it is one of the more distinctive solitary bees to look out for.



Females are honeybee-sized, with a dense ginger-brown or ‘buffish’ coat. Used to collect pollen, a key identification feature is the bright orange brush of hairs on the hind legs. The face is black-haired.

Males are less distinctive, but resemble smaller and slimmer females without the orange pollen brush.

Similar species

When the hind legs are covered in pollen, female Buffish Mining Bees look similar to female Chocolate Mining Bees. However, female Chocolate Mining Bees have a black and white pollen brush. When taking photographs, it is useful to capture the hind legs to aid identification.

Females have a dense ginger coat © Joe Dobinson

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Nesting in bare ground and short turf, females often nest close together in aggregations. Estimated to support over 100,000 bees, the nesting aggregation at the Spetchells in Prudhoe is considered the largest known aggregation of this species.

Regional distribution

Nationally, the Buffish Mining Bee is one of our most common and widespread mining bees. Occurring in a wide variety of habitats, you can encounter this mining bee in both Northumberland and County Durham.