These small black bees are abundant on the landscape but easy to overlook since many are only a few millimeters long and they lack the bright colors and fuzzy appearance of bumble bees and similar genera. Most genera listed here have few noticeably hairs, and many have shiny bodies.
These important field marks show features that are definitive for a genera or sub-set of genera. Click the images to enlarge.
Basal Vein Strongly BentUnique to family Halictidae (Lasioglossum, furrow bees, blood bees, short-faced bees, and the green bees)
Basal Vein Gently ArchedBees not in family Halictidae
Hairy facial foveaeOnly present on female Mining Bees (Andrena)
Abdomen ShapeSmall carpenter bees (top) have swollen abdomens, compared to Lasioglossum (bottom) and others
Thorax LengthScissor Bees (top) have an elongated thorax compared to resin bees (bottom) and others
Pollen Carrying Hairs on AbdomenUnique to family Megachilidae (leafcutters, small mason, resin, scissor bees, etc)
To identify an unknown bee, choose the most appropriate category below to narrow the options.