Andrenid bees are native, solitary bees, and their practice of nesting underground gives them the name of mining bees. Most bees in the Andrenidae family are mining bees. Some are small with yellow or white marks, without much hair. Andrenid bees, the most common genus of the family, are brownish black, and moderately hairy with a flattened tip of the abdomen.
They are a quarter to three quarters of an inch (6-16 mm) long. Andrenid bees are typically smaller than honeybees, have a proportionately shorter abdomen, flattened abdominal tips and lack the soft black-yellow abdominal bands.
These bees live in individual burrows in the ground, and although they are solitary, the several nests tend to be located close together, often giving an illusion of a colony.
The adult bees hibernate in their underground nest, and become active in the spring. The female bees spend a lot of time building their nests and then lay their eggs with balls of pollen. When they are done laying the eggs, the females will seal off the entrance to the nest with soil, and never return. The adults may only live for a month or so. The larvae will hatch and feed on the pollen provided. By the spring, they will be developed into adult bees, and will emerge from the ground.
Andrenid bees have short tongues, making it harder to reach nectar in some flowers, but their hairiness and habits make them effective pollinators. They are most commonly seen in spring at mid-latitudes, foraging at the tops of fruit trees. Andrenid bees, for example, pollinate low bush blueberries and apples trees.