Gooden’s Nomad bee (Nomada goodeniana)
Images provided by Steven Falk
Gooden’s Nomad bee (Nomada goodeniana) is one of the largest and most common Nomad bees in the UK. Nomads are wasp-like, cleptoparasites which will target unsealed pollen-stocked nest cells created by their Mining bee hosts and lay their own eggs inside.
Males are similar to females, although slightly smaller, with more yellow on the face and some black markings on the antennal segments.
Females are mainly hairless with bold yellow markings across the abdomen, and pairs of yellow spots at the base of the thorax, the collar of the thorax and where the wings stem from. Their legs and antennae are orange. Marsham’s Nomad bee (Nomada marshamella) is similar but the first yellow abdominal band is either absent or very faint and the second is quite obviously separated into two parts.
Habitat, hosts and flower preferences
Found in a wide variety of habitats, including open, woodland, coastal and inland, and is one of the most common Nomad bees in urban areas. Hosts include the Buffish Mining bee (Andrena nigroaenea), Grey patched Mining bee (Andrena nitida), Cliff Mining bee (Andrena thoracica) and possibly the Chocolate mining bee (Andrena scotica). They feed from a wide variety of spring blossoms, including dandelions, buttercups, forget-me-nots, Cow parsley, Rape and Greater stitchwort.
Flight season & Distribution
Seen from April to June. Commonly found throughout the south of Britain, with some more localised records in Scotland and Ireland.
After a Nomad larva’s first moult, they are able to use their large sickle-shaped mouth parts to destroy the host’s resident egg or grub, meaning all of the stored pollen is theirs for the taking.