Wilke’s mining bee (Andrena wilkella)

Andrenidae > Andrena > Andrena wilkella

Wilke’s mining bee (Andrena wilkella) is a summer bee of lawns and farm fields. You typically find males and females foraging on clovers and vetches. A. wilkella is notable because it is active at a time of year when relatively few other Andrena are flying. It is also unusual in that it is one of the few exotic ground-nesting bees in our area –the vast majority of accidentally-introduced bees nest above ground.


One generation per year, active from late May through mid-July.


Widespread, associated strongly with human-disturbed landscapes. Exotic species to North America; introduced from Eurasia (timing of introduction uncertain).


Size ≈ honey bee

Males: smaller than female and covered in pale, grayish-white hair; broken pale hair bands on T2-5

Females: medium-sized mining bee with broad facial foveae; head and thorax with light, reddish-brown hair; hair bands on rims of tergites 2-4, broken bands on T2 and T3; hind tibia generally yellow-orange

Similar species

  • Few other Andrena in our area have a similar flight season or habitat/host plant preferences, so not likely to be confused with other mining bees.


Nests underground in a wide variety of open habitats, including backyards, margins of agricultural fields, and turf grass playing fields.


Prefers legumes (Fabaceae), particularly exotics like clovers (Trifolium spp.), vetch (Vicia spp.), and bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus); common around lawns, old fields, roadsides and other open areas where these plants are abundant.

Natural Enemies/Associates

Not known to be associated with any parasite species in its introduced range in North America. Within its native range in Europe, nests are parasitized by the blunt-jawed nomad bee (Nomada striata).

Page last updated:
February 22, 2023