Image Credit: Clive

Identifying Different Native Bee Genera found in Portland

Andrena: Mining Bees. Have two vertical lines of hair along inner margin of both eyes. Small to medium sized. Ground nesters. Some species are generalists, some are specialists.

Agapostemon: Metallic sweat bees. Metallic green in color, medium sized. Ground nesters. Generalist pollinators

Ceratina: Carpenter bee. Shiny and nearly hairless. Small to medium size, black of metallic colored. Nest in old wood. Generalists.

Halictus, Sweat Bees. Medium sized, black to dark brown. Carry pollen on hind legs and sometimes on abdomen. Generalist pollinators, may be key pollinators for carrots, sunflowers, and onion.

Lassioglossum: Sweat Bees. dusky black to brown, dull green or blue slender bees, tiny to medium sized, with bands of hair on their abdomen.  Seem attracted to human sweat. Small, numerous. Generalist pollinators, ground nesters.

Megachile: Leafcutter bee. Black stocky body with lumps and hooks. Non-metallic and dark. Carry pollen on special hairs on abdomen. Often have hair bands on abdomen. Females have large mandibles. Often the neat circles cut from plant leaves are from females who use the pieces for their brood cells. Most are generalists. Nest in natural cavities.

Melissodes; Long horned bees. Males have long antennae. Large and stout. Popular pollinators on sunflowers. Brush like hairs on back legs that carry pollen. Ground nesters, emerge late in the year and are fall flyers.

Osmia: Mason Bees. Metallic green, blue or black. Stout body, usually smaller than honeybee. Carry pollen on special hairs on abdomen. Many are generalists, some species specialize on flowers in the Rose family (such as apples or cherries). Build nests in natural cavities, out of mud, or use artificial nesting cavities.

Bombus:Bumble bees. Medium to large sized, hairy bees, often with yellow hair bands. Buzzing sound when flying. Generalists. Studies show that pollination by bumblebees can produce bigger fruit and larger yields than form honeybee pollination (Bees in Your Backyard, Wilson and Carril). Can forage even when weather I cold and wet. 20 species in Oregon. Variety of nesting behaviors; ground, shaded corners in vegetation, even in trees, bird boxes, or lofts.

Non-native: European Honey Bee: Apis mellifera. Common medium sized bees.

The following pages outline the various bee genera that can be found in Portland and beyond: