Anthophora furcata (Panzer,1798)


Apis dumetorum PANZER 1798

Description and notes

An unusual Anthophora species, which excavates its nest burrows in rotten wood, rather than in the soil. Unusually for Anthophora the mandible is tridentate, with both an inner and outer subapical tooth.


Widely distributed in England, Wales and Scotland (Kircudbrightshire). There are no records from Ireland or the Channel Islands. A Eurasian species, the range extending from western Europe to Kashmir.

Status (in Britain only)

The bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.


Virtually ubiquitous within its range in lowland Britain, being reported from gardens, woodland, grasslands, moors, heaths and fenlands.

Flight period

Univoltine; late May to August or early September.

Pollen collected

Oligolectic on Lamiaceae (Westrich 1989). In the Netherlands, plants of the family Boraginaceae are additionally listed as important foraging plants for this species (Peeters, Raemakers & Smit 1999).

Nesting biology

Nest burrows and cells are excavated in rotten wood. A nest generally consists of two or more parallel burrows. Cells are oval in outline and are enlarged sections of the burrow; each cell is lined with compacted wood dust (pers. obs.). A nest is illustrated by Müller, Krebs & Amiet (1997). The winter is passed as a prepupa, not contained within a cocoon.

Flowers visited

Bastard balm (Melissa melissophyllum), black horehound (Ballota nigra), bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), butterfly-bush (Buddleja davidii), cat-mint (Nepeta cataria), hawkweed (Hieracium), hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica), iris (Iris sp. ), knapweed (Centaurea sp.), marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre), marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris), nightshades (Solanum sp.), red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum), spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), white dead-nettle (Lamium album), wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia).


Both Coelioxys quadridentata and C. rufescens have been cited as bee cleptoparsites of A. furcata, having been reared from nests of the species (M Edwards, pers. comm., and Richards (1949) respectively).

Author of profile

G R Else.

Year profile last updated


Proofed: January 2012

Citing this page 

Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society, 2013. Anthophora retusa.[Accessed Date (style 1st January 2013)]