In the western US there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Fairy Bee species, many of which are flower specialists. So far three species have been found in Vermont - all specialist that nest in sandy soil.
Genus level ID – These tiny bees have a uniquely flat body with sparse, spine-like hairs. As with the related genus Pseudopanurgus, females collect dense balls of wet pollen on their hind tibia.
Ground-cherry Mining Bee (Perdita halictoides)
Closely associated with Physalis and sand. Female mostly or entirely black. Males have a disproportionately large head and substantial yellow. Photo credit Spencer Hardy.
Eight-spotted Miner Bee (Perdita octomaculata)
Associated with goldenrod or other fall composites near sandy soil. Eight pale yellow marks on the terga that range from small dots to wider bands. Photo credit Spencer Hardy.
Sandbar Willow Fairy Bee (Perdita maculigera)
This uncommon, midwestern species was recently found along Lake Champlain, representing the first New England record. Likely associated with Sandbar Willow (Salix interior), which blooms much later than other Vermont willows. Image courtesy of Margarita Miklasevskaja.