|September Bee of the Month
Above: Female Colletes hyalinus guadialis on a seaside daisy
Our September Bee of the Month is Colletes sp., otherwise known as the polyester bee! Colletes sp. and all other genera within the family have this name because the females are able to secrete a special polyester material from a gland in their abdomen. They use this secretion to line their nests that they construct in soil or sandstone.
Although it's nearing autumn and many flowering periods of your favorite garden plants are coming to a close, there are many bee species out and about still gathering nectar and pollen. One of these bees is Colletes sp..
Colletes sp. is out from late spring into autumn in California. Females are mostly generalists in their pollen collections, but have preferences for some Asteraceae. If you have Solidago in your garden, you might have Colletes sp..
Colletes sp. is in the tiny family of Colletidae. California only has two genera within it- Colletes and Hylaeus, and they are very easy to tell apart. Colletes spp. are fuzzy, medium to tiny striped-bees, with a very apparent triangular-shaped face. Hylaeus spp. appear hairless, are smaller, all black, and usually have yellow face markings that look like a mask.