Bees of the genus Colletes, in common with those of the genus Hylaeus, are readily identified by their short, bifid tongues. They look superficially similar to many of the Andrena bees. Some species specialise on pollen from a specific plant or closely related group of plants (oligolectic). Identification keys and general information are given in Guichard (1974).
Widespread in sandy districts in southern and central England and Wales, scarcer towards the north. There is only one record in Scotland. The species is absent from Ireland, but does occur in the Channel Islands (Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey). Widespread in Europe and Asia: Fennoscandia south to Spain, and east to Siberia.