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Small Carpenter Bee

Ceratina spp.

Small Carpenter Bee, Small Carpenter Bees

A close up of a small carpenter bee from the insect genus Ceratina perched on a rock

Ceratina WG

by L. Shyamal. CC BY-SA 3.0

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The Ceratina bees are a cosmopolitan group comprising 350 species across the globe. They're characterised by their heavy armour, which is often iridescent blue or green. Most species are solitary; the females care for broods on their own. In some cases, however, they're known to provision nests with several other females. Carpenter Bees are named after their lifestyles. These bees will excavate nests in deadwood, stems and piths. A smaller fraction of species builds tunnels in sandy soil, in which they lay eggs and provision young with nectar and pollen. Small mining bees are found in an array of habitats, including both disturbed and undisturbed types (grasslands, forests, wetlands, marshlands, open habitats, protected areas, farmlands, rangelands, plantations, abandoned quarries etc.). They pollinate a large selection of plants; especially those that produce small yellow, white, green, cream and purple flowers.
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Their long tongues and small size make them specialist pollinators.
They will protect the nest and sting if alarmed or disturbed.


Adults: A small insect (<1cm); bees in the genus are typically dark coloured and heavily armoured; they are often shiny-black or metallic green, blue and turquoise. Compared to a bumblebee, they lack hair and fluff! Some species possess yellow markings on the face, sometimes on the body too; but abdominal banding is often absent. They possess pollen-carrying hairs on the hindleg tibia (second leg segment). Larvae & Eggs: The eggs are laid in a purpose-built burrow, either in a woody plant structure or in some cases, human-made timber. For this reason, the eggs and larvae are seldom seen; until emerging as a fully developed adult bee!













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