Hairy-footed flower bee (male)

Hairy-footed flower bee (male) ©Jane Adams

Hairy-footed flower bee (female)

Hairy-footed flower bee (female) ©Jane Adams

Hairy-footed flower bee

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Scientific name: Anthophora plumipes
The hairy-footed flower bee can be seen in gardens and parks in spring and summer, visiting tubular flowers like red dead-nettle and comfrey. As its name suggests, it has long, orange hairs on its middle legs.

Top facts

Stats

Length: 1.4-1.6cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to June

About

The hairy-footed flower bee emerges from hibernation in early spring, from late February to March. The males emerge first and the females appear a couple of weeks later. This species is an important pollinator for early spring flowers, particularly lungworts (Pulmonariaspecies), but also primrose, comfrey and dead-nettles. It feeds on the nectar using its long tongue. hairy-footed flower bees will nest in soft mortar in walls, or occasionally in soil. They are commonly seen in gardens in Southern England, as well as along roadside verges.

What to look for

The female hairy-footed flower bee is black and furry, and resembles a small bumble bee. The males are rusty-brown and have long, orange hairs on their middle legs and feet.

Where to find

Found in Central and Southern England, and Wales.

Did you know?

If you spot a bee around the fireplace, it might well be a hairy-footed flower bee. They have a habit of dropping down chimneys because they like to nest in the cracks between bricks. Just pop it outside and it should soon warm up and fly off!