My 2 year old daughter spotted lots of these small, fuzzy orange bees on the newly dug soil in the garden. I identified them (by text message, having been sent the iPhone picture above at work) as Tawny mining bees. These are solitary bees, only about a centimetre long, that burrow in soil and raise their young underground. They are only to be seen March to May, hibernating the rest of the year in their tunnels. Completely harmless, I find them rather charming and it's fascinating the way many of them will suddenly descend on a small patch of soil to set up home – which is what my daughter witnessed.

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  1. I usually have them in my lawn but I haven’t seen any this year.

  2. I was weeding my mothers garden in Suffolk and disturbed several of these orange bees. They began swarming around so I gave up on the weeding. My mother and I have never seen these type of bees before.

  3. Now July and our garden still has an active colony of mining beyees is this normal ?
    What do they eat or pollinate ?

  4. Keith – they are solitary bees so not really a colony, though many may choose to live in the same patch of soil (because it’s just perfect for them) hence giving that effect.
    http://www.buglife.org.uk/discoverbugs/bugofthemonth/tawnyminingbee – this is a good page on them, but doesn’t cover when they would be active. I imagine that they’re probably active all through the warm months, but that’s a guess. They collect pollen and honey to eat, presumably from any flowers they fancy. I don’t know if they go for specific species.

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