Genus Andrena is the most diverse bee genera in Vermont, with nearly 70 species recorded. The highest diversity and abundance occurs in the spring, with a distinct set of species flying in the fall. In Vermont, at least 40% of the species are thought to be flower specialists. Andrena are the primary host for most Cuckoo Nomad bees.

Parnassia Miner (Andrena parnassiae) © Spencer Hardy

Genus level ID

This genus is a good one to become familiar with since they are often a dominant part of the local bee fauna. These are generally dull-colored hairy bees, ranging in size from a few millimeters to the size of a small bumble bee. The most distinctive feature is the facial foveae of the females (see image below, click to enlarge). These hairy groves are unique to this genus, but not always visible in photos.

Females have specialized hair for carrying pollen on the rear of their thorax, femur, and tibia.

 

Similar Genera

Cellophane Bees (Genus Colletes) – See the genus page here for more details on how to distinguish Mining Bees and Cellophane Bees.

Furrow Bees (Genus Halictus) – Orange-legged Furrow Bee (Halictus rubicundus) have bold white stripes on the abdomen and could be mistaken for a Mining Bee, though they lack the facial foveae and tend to have smaller heads.

Species Level ID

Many Mining Bees are difficult to ID to species, even with the specimen in hand. A few, however, are readily recognizable by field marks visible through binoculars or in a photo. The following grids present a selection of species that are distinctive and/or are noteworthy for other reasons (click on each image to enlarge). Knowing the associated flower will go a long way towards finding and identifying many of the specialists, though the flower alone is not a fool-proof identification feature, since almost all bees will occasionally visit the “wrong” flower. In general males are much harder to ID than females.

 

Unless otherwise specified, photos are courtesy of Margarita Miklasevskaja at PCYU with funding from NSERC-CANPOLIN. Specialization data primarily from https://jarrodfowler.com/bees_pollen.html

 

The table below is a complete list (as of February 2021) of all Mining Bee species confirmed for Vermont. Links (where present) will take you to individual species pages with natural history notes, identification tips, and a map.

All Vermont Mining Bees

Scientific NameCommon NameRelative AbundanceNotes
Andrena alleghaniensisAllegheny Mining BeeUncommon
Andrena arabisMustard Miner BeeRareToothwort specialist, one confirmed record for VT
Andrena asterisAster Mining BeeFairly CommonAster specialist that can also be found on goldenrod
Andrena barbilabrisLong-lipped Mining BeeUncommon
Andrena bisalicisEastern Willow Miner BeeUncommonWillow specialist
Andrena braccataUncommonAssociated with goldenrod
Andrena bradleyiBradley's Mining BeeUncommonFavors blueberries, uncommon to rare in VT
Andrena brevipalpisShort-tongued Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena canadensisCanadian Mining BeeRareFall composite specialist, very few records for VT
Andrena carliniCarlin's Mining BeeCommon
Andrena carolinaCarolina Miner BeeFairly CommonBlueberry specialist
Andrena ceanothiCeanothus Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena clarkellaClark's Mining BeeFairly CommonDistinctive willow specialist
Andrena commodaAdvantaged Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena cornelliAzalea Mining BeeRareRhododendron specialist, only known from one site in near the Massachusetts border
Andrena crataegiHawthorn Mining BeeCommon
Andrena cressoniiCresson's Mining BeeFairly Common
Andrena distansCranesbill MinerUncommon*Wild Geranium specialist
Andrena dunningiDunning's Mining BeeFairly Common
Andrena erigeniaeSpring Beauty Mining BeeFairly CommonSpring Beauty specialist
Andrena erythrogasterRed-tailed Mining BeeFairly CommonWillow specialist
Andrena erythroniiTrout-lily Mining BeeUncommonPrefers trout-lily, though likely not a true specialist. Less widespread than trout-lilies in VT
Andrena forbesiiForbes' Mining BeeUncommon
Andrena fragilisFragile Dogwood Mining BeeUncommonDogwood specialist
Andrena frigidaFrigid Mining BeeFairly CommonWillow specialist
Andrena geraniiWaterleaf Mining BeeUncommonVirginia Waterleaf specialist
Andrena helianthiSunflower Mining BeeCommonSunflower specialist
Andrena hippotesHippotes's Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena hirticincta Hairy-banded Mining BeeCommonComposite specialist, common on goldenrod in the fall.
Andrena imitatrixImitator Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena integraShort-haired Dogwood Mining BeeFairly CommonDogwood specialist
Andrena krigianaDwarf-dandelion Mining BeeRareThought to be a Dwarf Dandelion (Genus Krigia) specialist, though both of VT records are at least 100 miles from known Dwarf Dandelions.
Andrena melanochroaRose Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena milwaukeensisMilwaukee Mining BeeCommonCommon, distinctive spring species
Andrena mirandaSingular Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena miserabilisMiserable Mining BeeCommon
Andrena nasoniiNason's Mining BeeCommon
Andrena nidaRareWillow specialist, perhaps focusing on Sandbar Willow (Salix exigua). Few, if any recent records.
Andrena nigraeBlack Miner BeeRareFew, if any recent records.
Andrena nigrihirtaBlack-haired Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena nivalisSnowy Mining BeeCommon
Andrena nudaNude Mining BeeUncommon
Andrena parnassiaeParnassia MinerUncommon*Fen grass specialist, poorly known globally, but found several places in VT recently
Andrena peckhamiPeckham's Mining BeeRare
Andrena perplexaPerplexed Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena persimulataProtuberance Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena placataPeaceful Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena platypariaPlated Miner BeeUncommonDogwood specialist
Andrena pruniCherry Mining BeeUncommon*
Andrena regularisRegular Mining BeeFairly Common
Andrena robertsoniiRobertson's Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena rufosignataBrown-fovea MinerCommon
Andrena rugosaRugose Mining BeeCommon
Andrena salictariaSmall Willow Miner BeeFairly CommonWillow specialist
Andrena sigmundiSigmund's Mining BeeUncommon
Andrena spiraeanaGoatsbeard Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena vernalisRareGolden Alexander specialist
Andrena vicinaNeighborly Mining BeeFairly Common
Andrena violaeRareViolet specialist
Andrena virginianaVirginia Mining BeeUncommon
Andrena w-scriptaW-marked Miner BeeFairly Common
Andrena wheeleriWheeler's Miner BeeUncommon
Andrena wilkellaWilke's Mining BeeCommonIntroduced
Andrena ziziaeGolden-Alexanders Mining BeeCommonGolden Alexander specialist
Andrena nubeculaCloudy-winged Mining BeeCommonFall, associated with Goldenrod
Andrena mandibularisToothed Miner Bee
Andrena thaspiiParsnip Miner Bee
Andrena ziziaeformisRare*Cinquefoils and Appalachian Barren-Strawberry specialist. Known from one site in Rutland County.

Please note that many of our datasets have not been published yet, so the maps are incomplete.