If you have watched native bees at all, you have seen this little bee–even if you didn’t know the genus. Many days, this bee has been the most common bee I’ve seen. When flying, it reminds me a bit of a fat medium-sized ant. Three characteristics give the identity of this bee away; they are small, about the size of a plumped-up rice grain; they have a bright yellow marking on their face; and, they are shiny, metallic, and don’t have a lot of hairs.
Many other bees are small, but few have this distinctive metallic-greenish coloring.
Sam Droege, a Biologist at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, has made a wonderful, easy-to-understand slide presentation (Guide to the Apidae Part 1) on native bees. Slides 29 and 30 contain information on the Ceratina. Below is a video of a Ceratina entering a hollow stem. This video was shot by Dr. Kevin Matteson of The Great Pollinator Project.
Originally posted 2/1/10