Kernowecology is working on probably the only published study of pollen requirements of Buff-banded Mining Bee (Andrena simillima) with Dr. Judy Webb (P.Saunders inprep 2021). This study suggests the bee qualifies as a specialist (or electic oligolectic).
The study suggests that Knapweed (Centaurea) is a defining conservation requirement. The study suggests the bee has a relatively high population density which may link to a requirement for dense stands of abundant (at least 450 flowers) of Knapweed (Centaurea) close to nest sites (within 700m). Scrub edge or ruderal habitat rich with Bramble are also important, but unlikely to be limiting as generally increasing in Cornwall.
Buff-banded Mining Bee (Andrena simillima) uses sparsely vegetated banks and compacted bare ground for nest sites. The species nested in aggregations, or solitarily in fairly close proximinity to other aggregations, suggesting resonable sized areas of bare ground may be required. Usually not restrictive on coastal sites, but potentially restrictive on some sites and particularly inland ones.
No link was found to a specific climatic niche for this bee, but the species is associated with late flowering maritime grassland which could be linked to an Atlantic climatic niche (further nest research is needed.)
Buff-banded Mining Bee (Andrena simillima) is a Red Data Book (Falk 1991) bee found in scattered sites in England (Else & Edwards 2018). There is a clear decline in other European countries and the bee is listed in the Red data books of Czech, Germany and the Netherlands. Cornwall is one of the UK "Hot-spots" for this species with approximately 14 modern sites (ERICA 2020). The species is mostly found on coastal sites in Cornwall, although does have some modern inland sites.
Buff-banded Mining Bee (Andrena simillima)
Male Buff-banded Mining Bee
Conserve/manage unimproved coastal grassland or any flower-rich areas with Knapweed (Centaurea).
Dense stands of abundant (at least 450 flowers) of Knapweed (Centaurea) are most important within 700m of nest sites.
Conserve/manage ruderal habitats rich in Asteraceae including Thistles (Circium) and Ragwort (Senecio).
Conserve scrub edge habitats. Although not when they are encroaching on more valuable aster-rich grassland habitats.
Implement late (after mid august) cutting or grazing regimes.
Conserve bare ground features.
Knapweed used by the bee
The bee was found in very rich coastal meadow sites but only used a limited range of available flowers