photographs wild bees and native bees

Can anyone identify this bee?

Update June 25: According to Kathy Keatley Garvey and Dr. Robbin Thorp at UC Davis, this is a small metallic sweat bee in the genus Halictus, and is probably Halictus tripartitus. Thank you so much for your help!

I have a lot of these tiny bees. They are about 1/4-inch long (0.6 cm) and appear black at first glance. The one below was on a five-spot flower among honey bees and bumble bees that were also foraging in the area. I’d like to know what it is.

Tiny bee on five-spot. Photo by the author

Another shot of the same bee. Photo by the author


  • I have a bumble bee nest in the wooden wall of my house next to the door I have to use for my office.

    I do not want to kill the bees, but am concerned how long they will remain. Any suggestions?

    • Neil,

      Depending on the exact species, the nest may be active for about 6 weeks or most of the summer. However, they do not overwinter. Once the colony dies out, you can fix the wall so another colony does not use it next year.

  • Hi, my name is Clarice and now you know someone that has been stung by bumble bees. I was on a bulldozer with my father when he was taking out an old fence.

    The bumble bees flew out and got me good. They continued to follow the bulldozer back to our house about a quarter of a mile away. I got off the bulldozer and ran for my life to the house and the bees had no problems keeping up. I was stung so many times my mother had to call the doctor and she was instructed to make a paste to put all over me. I remember spending the night throwing up. I’m a new honey beekeeper this year and if the bumble bees are going into my hive and stealing food or killing my colony, this will be a problem and I can see why people would get rid of the bumble bees. I put food out for my bees. The bumble bees are 10 feet from my hive on 24 acres with fruit trees, lots of flowers and a big garden. I would love it if they were friends but not convinced.

    • Clarice,

      The bumble bees will not invade your colony and take their honey. The honey bees will not allow it. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with bumble bees, but don’t hold a grudge against them. All things considered, they are gentle creatures.

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