4954 N. Shamrock Place, Tucson, AZ 85705

Mining Bee

Family Andrenidae

Mining Bee

Physical Features

Mining bees are 3/8 to 5/8 inch long.  They excavate tunnels in the ground just like miners, hence the name.  The entrance holes are typically small in diameter.  These holes often have a small mound of dirt resembling a small ant hill.  These furry bees range in color from dark brown, red to black, metallic green, to striped.

Life Cycle

Complete Metamorphosis

These solitary bees live singly in burrows in the ground, however, large groups (aggregations) will sometimes live in same proximity due to the area being an ideal site to reside.  Female mining bees collect pollen and nectar and stockpile it inside a burrow.  She then deposits an egg on the food source for the larva to feed on once it hatches.  The larva will then pupate then emerging into the adult stage.  Overwintering occurs inside the burrows.  These bees are active for a minimal amount of time usually no longer than 1-2 weeks.


  • Diet: Nectar and pollen.
  • Activity: Spring to early summer
  • Preferred Climate: Warm
  • Defense: Sting rarely, but females will do so if provoked.
  • Cautions: Population numbers fluctuate seasonally.
  • Home Invasion: Occasionally can be a lawn pest especially if in an area that is dry and has little to no plant growth.

Helpful Hints

  • Extremely beneficial, minimal control should be done whenever possible.
  • Plant thick turf or ground cover as a deterrent.
  • Lawn or yard application of an insecticide in severe infestations.

Interesting Facts

The mining bee is one of the largest groups of solitary bees numbering over 1,300 known species worldwide.


Bee stings can produce different reactions, ranging from temporary pain and discomfort to severe allergic reactions.

Nesting Sites

Mining bees nest in burrows in the ground.