Ceratina, via Gretel Kiefer

Ceratina, via Gretel Kiefer

Family: Apidae

Genus: Ceratina

Common Name: Small Carpenter Bees

Length:  3-15 mm (0.1-0.6 in)

Link to DiscoverLife: Ceratina

Identification:  Ceratina individuals are small, sparsely haired, and appear black from a distance, but up close they can be a metallic green or bronzy. They have distinctive abdomens, which are almost cylindrical with a blunt end (which, up close, looks like a tiny pointed tip). Most species have yellow or white markings on their faces. The males generally have larger pale markings (in the shape of an inverted T) on their faces. The females carry pollen in their scopae. It is important to note, in identification, that the two species of Ceratina we have encountered on our study site are virtually impossible to differentiate based on morphological traits, as they are more or less identical.

Foraging Habits: Generalists

Nesting Habits:  Ceratina are solitary, and excavate their own nests but lack the jaw strength to chew wood, so they choose the pithy centers of dead stems of sunflowers or shrubs. These stems must already be broken. The female makes a linear series of brood cells and guards the entrance. She will die during the winter but remains in place to block the entrance and keep her brood safe.

Specimens in Collection: 40 specimens

Species Observed: Ceratina calcarata/dupla

Supplemental Images: Ceratina calcarata/dupla

(Mader et al. Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. 2011. The Xerces Society.)

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