Ceratina / small carpenter Bee
Ceratina acantha Provancher female resting on a finger. © Rollin Coville
Ceratina acantha Provancher female visiting Mimulus aurantiacus (sticky monkeyflower). © Rollin Coville
Ceratina mating pair on a rose petal. © Celeste Ets-Hokin
Common Name: Small Carpenter Bee
Ceratina are generally very shiny black, or sometimes slightly blue or green metallic, in coloring. Many species have yellow or white face markings. They have very little body hair, and distinctive cylindrical abdomens which end in a very small point.
Females carry pollen in a brush of specialized hairs, called a scopa, on each hind leg. These scopae are quite sparse in Ceratina species.
The female uses chewed pith and saliva to construct the dividing walls which separate the brood cells of her linear nest. When she completes her nest, she guards the entrance with her body, where she will die at some point during the winter.
Ceratina are accomplished generalists, and will visit an extremely wide variety of both native and exotic garden plants. They are common visitors to urban and suburban gardens.
Size: Very tiny to moderate sized, slender bee, 1/10 to 1/2 inch in length.
Ceratina species are widely distributed throughout most parts of the United States and Canada, with the exception of desert habitats. With approximately 350 species worldwide, they are found on nearly every continent.
Number of species in North America
Ceratina species are almost exclusively solitary bees; females excavate their nests in the soft pith of dead stems such as blackberry, elderberry, sunflower, and sumac.
Pollinated Garden Crops Include
Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas