Identification of Native Bees

Bee Health March 04, 2010|Print
  • This information presented here is taken from 'Native Bee Benefits' published by Bryn Mawr College and Rutgers University.

Contents

Bombus impatiens

What to look for: Hairy, yellow and black, 0.3-0.6 in. (0.8-1.6 cm)

Common Eastern Bumble Bee

Abundance: Very common

Range: Broadly throughout Eastern US

Season: March –November

Sociality: Eusocial

Typical Flight Distance: 2-4.6 mi. (3.3-7.5 km)

Nesting: Below ground or in existing pockets such as rodent nests, under logs, stone walls. Found in a wide variety of habitats. Up to 400 workers per colony.

Foraging: Broad generalist

Recommended native plants: Asclepias syriaca, Apocynum cannabinum, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Cirsium discolor

Key crops pollinated: Blueberry, Cranberry, Muskmelon, Squash, Pepper, Tomato, Watermelon

Bombus fervidus

What to look for: Hairy, yellow most of body, 0.4 in. (1 cm) (John Ascher/www.discoverlife.org)

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

Abundance: Not common

Range: Broadly throughout Eastern US

Season: April-October

Sociality: Eusocial

Typical Flight Distance: 0.9-1.8 mi. (1.4-3 km)

Nesting: Above or below ground in sunny, dry locations, tend to prefer fields. Their nests may be in old rodent nests or may simply resemble field mouse nests.

Foraging: Broad generalist

Recommended native plants: Asclepias syriaca, Apocynum cannabinum, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Cirsium discolor

Key crops pollinated: Muskmelon, Squash, Pepper, Tomato, Watermelon



Ceratina calcarata, C. dupla and C. strenua

What to look for: Hairless, dark metallic brown to black, 0.2-0.3 in. (0.5-0.8 cm)

Small Carpenter Bees

Abundance: Common

Range: Broadly throughout Eastern US

Season: March-October

Sociality: Solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 22-87 yd. (20-80 m)

Nesting: Chews nest cells in pithy stems, rotten vines or other wood substrate. Found in a wide variety of habitats.

Foraging: Broad generalist

Recommended native plants: Erigeron strigosus, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Solidago odora, Euthamia graminifolia

Key crops pollinated: Muskmelon



Habropoda laboriosa

What to look for: Hairy yellow shoulders, black body, 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) (Jerry Payne/USDA ARS)

Southeastern Blueberry Bee

Abundance: Common

Range: East coast of US Season: May

Sociality: Solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 1-2.3 mi. (1.7-3.7 km)

Nesting: Burrows in dry, sandy soils singly or in groups. Found in low-lying coastal habitat.

Foraging: Specialist Recommended native plants: N/A

Key crops pollinated: Blueberry




Augochlora pura and Augochlorella aurata

What to look for: Hairless, metallic blue to green, 0.2-0.3 in (0.5-0.8 cm) (Augochlora pura, left; Augochlorella aurata, right)

Blue-Green Sweat Bees

Abundance: Common

Range: Broadly throughout US

Season: April-October

Sociality: Eusocial (Augochlorella striata) and Solitary (Augochlora pura)

Typical Flight Distance: 66-230 yd. (60-210 m)

Nesting: Soil burrowing in well-drained areas, found in a wide variety of habitats (Augochlorella striata). Burrows into rotting wood (e.g. logs, stumps) (Augochlora pura).

Foraging: Broad generalist Recommended native plants: Apocynum cannabinum, Erigeron strigosus, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Solidago odora, Euthamia graminifolia

Key crops pollinated: Muskmelon, Pepper, Strawberry, Tomato, Watermelon



Lasioglossum (Dialictus)

What to look for: Short, fine hairs, dark brown to black metallic color, 0.2 in. (0.5 cm) (Karl Volkman/ www.bugguide.net)

Dark Sweat Bee

Abundance: Very common

Range: Throughout eastern US

Season: April-October

Sociality: Eusocial/Rarely solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 11-450 yd. (10-410 m)

Nesting: Soil burrowing in well-drained areas. Found in a wide variety of habitats.

Foraging: Broad generalist Native plant use: Apocynum cannabinum, Erigeron strigosus, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Solidago odora, Euthamia graminifolia

Key crops pollinated: Muskmelon, Pepper, Tomato, Watermelon



Halictus confusus

What to look for: Short, fine hairs, light/dark brown stripes with some metallic copper, 0.3 in. (0.7 cm)

Abundance: Common

Range: Throughout the US, Canada and Europe

Season: April-October

Sociality: Eusocial

Typical Flight Distance: 75-140 yd. (70-130 m)

Nesting: Soil burrowing in well-drained areas. Found in a wide variety of habitats.

Foraging: Broad generalist

Recommended native plants: Apocynum cannabinum, Erigeron strigosus, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Solidago odora, Euthamia graminifolia

Key crops pollinated: Pepper, Strawberry, Tomato, Watermelon





Peponapis pruinosa

What to look for: Hairy yellow shoulders, black and gray stripes, 0.5-0.6 in. (1.2-1.4 cm) (Sue Orrell/ www.pbase.com)

Squash Bee

Abundance: Not common

Range: Throughout US, concentrated on east coast

Season: July-September

Sociality: Solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 0.5-1 mi. (0.8-1.7 km)

Nesting: Soil burrowing in well-drained areas, found wherever there is squash (even urban gardens)

Foraging: Specialist

Recommended native plants: N/A

Key crops pollinated: Squash



Colletes inaequalis

What to look for: Hairy yellow face and shoulders, light and dark brown stripes, 0.8 in. (1.3 cm) (Tom Murray/ www.bugguide.net)

Plasterer Bee


Abundance: Common

Range: Throughout eastern US

Season: March-June

Sociality: Solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 0.5-1.2 mi. (0.9-2 km)

Nesting: Soil burrowing, found in large aggregations in grassy areas with inorganic soil

Foraging: Broad generalist

Recommended native plants: N/A

Key crops pollinated: Apple



Andrena spp.

What to look for: Hairy yellow shoulders, black or dark/reddish brown body, 0.4-0.6 in. (1.0-1.4 cm) (Andrena vicina/www.bugguide.net)

Andrena carlini, A. dunningi, A. crataegi, A. regularis, A. carolina, A. milwaukeensis, A. vicina


Abundance: Not common

Range: Worldwide

Season: March-July

Sociality: Solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 140-930 yd. (130-850 m)

Nesting: Soil burrowing, sometimes found in forests or bogs

Foraging: Generalist/sometimes specialist

Recommended native plants: Apocynum cannabinum; Rosaceae, Brassicaceae, and Ericaceae families; Aruncus, Ilex, and Vibernums sp.

Key crops pollinated: Apple, Blueberry, Strawberry



Xylocopa virginica

What to look for: Hairy yellow shoulders, black body, 1 in. (2.3 cm) (Athena Anderson/ www.discoverlife.org)

Eastern Carpenter Bee


Abundance: Very common

Range: Throughout eastern US

Season: March-October

Sociality: Solitary

Typical Flight Distance: 5.5-13 mi. (8.8-21 km)

Nesting: Look for 0.5 in. circular holes in any wood (seem to prefer soft wood such as pine). Found in a wide variety of habitats, thrives even in cities and suburbs.

Foraging: Broad generalist

Recommended native plants: Asclepias syriaca, Solidago odora, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Euthamia graminifolia, Cirsium discolor

Key crops pollinated: Blueberry



Source 'Native Bee Benefits' published by Bryn Mawr College and Rutgers University.