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

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.

Species information

Statistics

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.

How to identify

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.

Distribution

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!

How people can help

Bees and wasps, along with many of our other, often-overlooked insects, are important pollinators for all kinds of plants, including those which we rely on like fruit trees. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.