This petite native bee easily goes unnoticed due to its size. It measures between 0.1 – 0.5 inches. They are shiny and nearly hairless and black, sometimes with metallic green or blue, coloring. 350 species of Ceratina can be found across the world, and different species are found on every continent, with exception to Antarctica, as a hairless bee wouldn’t survive there.
As generalists, they like any kind of flower for nectar and pollen provisions. This makes them a very versatile pollinator. They also have a very long tongue, which increases the flower options as well!
They may be hairless, but they can pack pollen into baskets on their hind legs, as you can see below.
Ceratina bees nest in soft plant material or rotten/dead wood, chewing nesting tunnels within. They cannot chew through really hard material, like their carpenter bee cousins, so they stick to things similar to stems of raspberry bushes or broken branches from dead trees. I have placed a bundle of options in my garden nears flowers Ceratina frequents; maybe we’ll get some nesters!
They are also sometimes parthenogenic, which means they can reproduce without the mating part! What?! That’s a fantastic survival mechanism built into their biology!
Ceratina bees are solitary, meaning they will not form large co-operative colonies, but they will happily nest and feed next to each other offering no rivalry to their neighbors. This also means they are very docile and happy to share space with whomever happens to be in the vicinity, including you! So, don’t be shy, watch closely for these petite bees the next time you are out in your flower garden.
Thank you for joining the movement!