wild bees and native bees

This bee seems to have Angelina lips

Okay, maybe not. This is, after all, a male bee. In this species, the yellow face and the yellow legs indicate maleness, but you have to admit, that’s quite a pout.

Halictus rubicundus is a very common species in North America. It is found in Canada and throughout the United States from March until September. It lives in the ground and is generally a solitary bee, although in warmer areas it is partially social, with workers and reproductive bees living in the same nest. The nest opening is generally surrounded by a mound of soil called a tumulus.

The bees are small, about 1 cm long, and forage on a wide variety of plants. The one shown was on a mint plant along with many other individuals. The males are usually produced at the end of the year, just before the weather gets colder. The females look similar but lack the yellow coloring. They can be seen collecting masses of fluffy pollen on their hind legs.

The bee appears to have Angelina lips.

Halictus rubicundus. Male bees like this one have very long antennae. Not only do the antennae have more segments, but the segments are longer. © Rusty Burlew

Halictus-rubicundus male

Halictus rubicundus male. The males have the yellow face and yellow legs, making them easy to distinguish. © Rusty Burlew

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  • Rusty,
    Thanks for showing us all these other pollinators. I would recommend that everybody spend a little time in a field of flowers looking for the other pollinators–the tiny bees, the flies, ground bees, butterflies. While they don’t provide us with honey, they are important to all of us. And they’re fun to find and watch.
    Be part of your surroundings and really LOOK!

  • Rusty –

    You take some great photos. The yellow legs on this Halictus—is this a definitive gender trait for just this species, or for all Halictus?

    I’ve observed other bee females with bright yellow legs, am not good distinguishing all the different bee groups as I’d like, (and definitely not good at recognizing both genders of any one bee). But if all Halictus males have yellow legs then at least if I see a yellow-legged female I’ve narrowed it down a bit.

    • Glen,

      It is my understanding that the yellow legs and face indicate a male in this particular species only, not all halictids.

  • I enjoy the learning about bee communities. I would like to keep bees in norther Thailand in a few years time. Do you have any suggestion on we’re I should start my research?