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Ceratina / small carpenter Bee

Family: Apidae

Genus: Ceratina

Common Name: Small Carpenter Bee


Physical Appearance

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

Approximately twenty-five


Emergence Time
Spring, summer


Nesting Habit
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
Mimulus (monkeyflower)

Visited Plants

Agastache / Giant Hyssop

Amelanchier / Serviceberry

Amorpha / False Indigo

Ceanothus / Wild Lilac

Clarkia / Clarkia

Cucurbita / Gourd

Erigeron / Fleabane

Eriogonum / Buckwheat

Eschscholzia / California Poppy

Eutrochium / Joe-Pye Weed

Grindelia / Gumweed

Holodiscus / Oceanspray

Larrea / Creosote Bush

Lavandula / Lavender

Nepeta / Catmint

Penstemon / Beardtongue

Phacelia / Scorpionweed

Prunus / Plum

Rosa / Rose

Rudbeckia / Coneflower

Salix / Willow

Salvia / Sage

Silphium / Rosinweed

Solidago / Goldenrod

Symphyotrichum / Aster

Vaccinium / Blueberry

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