DESCRIPTION: Forewing 7.5 to 10.5mm. Also known as the Chocolate Mining Bee females are larger than malesand have dull and weakly punctate abdomens with reduced flocci. The sides of tergites 1 and 2 have black sides, the abdomens have a covering of brown hairs with the thorax sporting more gingery-brown hairs. The males have antennae that show tergite 4 to be twice as long as segment 3. Both sexes have very small flocci on the hind trochanters. BEHAVIOUR: Nests alone or in loose congregations on sunny banks that have good vegetation. Males try to mate immediately, so in many cases the females have been fertilised even before seeing daylight. Falls victim to the cleptoparasites Nomada flava and Nomada marshamella. DISTRIBUTION: Widely distributed in the UK becoming more localised towards the north. HABITAT: Flower rich areas such as meadows, hedgerows, woodland edges and gardens. PERIOD: March to July is the best time to see this attractive species. The peak flight period usually coincides with the flowering of Hawthorn and Blackthorn.
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