Mining Bee - Andrena sp.
Family Andrenidae - Mining bees

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Live adult bees photographed at West Chicago Prairie, DuPage County, Ilinois.
I find Andrenids among the most numerous hymenopterans in many landscapes in the American Midwest. Even in dry mesic prairies and grasslands, these tiny pollinators are active. Mated pairs can be seen in springtime and early summer.

With over 1,300 species, Andrena is the largest genus in the family Andrenidae.  The typical appearance is brown to black with lighter abdominal bands. Some species have completely black abdomen without bands (e.g. subgenus Melandrena), while others have bands which are y interrupted (e.g. in subgenus Micrandrena).

Females often show a black triangle at the abdominal apex. In temperate areas, Andrena bees (both males and females) emerge from the underground cells where their pupae spend the winter, when the temperature ranges from about 20°C to 30°C. They mate, and the females then seek sites for their nest burrows, where they construct small cells containing a ball of pollen mixed with nectar, upon which an egg is laid, before each cell is sealed. Andrena usually prefer sandy soils for a nesting substrate, near or under shrubs to be protected from heat and frost.

Andrenid Bees
Andrenid drones can mate with multiple females.
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Order Hymenoptera: Bees, Wasps, & Ants
belong to this large order, which also includes sawflies. Most species are solitary, but some, such as the domestic honeybee, exhibit a complex social structure in which exist sterile female workers and fertile male and female royalty.
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