Ceratina calcarata

Spurred Ceratina
Ceratina calcarata

 

 

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata female. Apr 17, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata female. Apr 17, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Female:
Head: Dark green-blue, rough (deep punctures). Lower face (clypeus) flat, slightly darker. Sometimes with a very tiny white to cream-colored oblong mark, but usually no mark. No squarish mark on mouth area (labrum). Mandibles dark with 3 teeth.
Antenna: Black.
Thorax: Dark green-blue. Segment 1 (scutum) rough (deep punctures) on base half, lower central area smooth and shiny. Thorax sides have black tubercle (pronotal lobe) with white fringe on one side. A few whitish hairs on lower half of thorax sides. Note: some females have half white tubercle; know to interbreed with Ceratina dupla.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark brown. Wings lightly tinted, veins brown.
Legs: Darker green-blue (slightly darker than body). Feet (tarsi) dark brownish-yellow. Front leg bare, mid and hind legs have long whitish hair. Hair on all feet slightly yellowish.
Abdomen: Dark green-blue. Tip sharply pointed. Some scant yellowish hair on last segment, and underside of last segment.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata male on Ox-eye Daisy. June 16, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata male on Ox-eye Daisy. June 16, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Male:
Head: Dark green-blue, rough (deep punctures). Lower face (clypeus) flat, slightly darker. White to cream-colored 3-cornered mark (hat-like). Another squarish, tiny white spot on mouth (labrum). Mandibles black with 2 teeth.
Antenna: Black. Segments 2 and 3 longer than wide.
Thorax: Dark green-blue, shiny and flat. Thorax sides have black tubercle (pronotal lobe) with crescent of white hair. Lower sides have sparse white hairs. Note: some males have half white tubercle; known to interbreed with Ceratina dupla.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark greenish-black. Wings tinted brownish, veins dark brown to black.
Legs: Darker green-blue than body, to almost black. Hind thighs (femora) have underside enlarged, V-shaped, no tuft of hair like C. strenua. Shins (tibiae) has sparse white hair, more so on hind shin. Feet more brownish, toes brownish-yellow.
Abdomen: Dark green-blue, rough (dense punctures). Segment 6 lower edge indented at center, with tuft of short pale hair. The 7th segment, usually hidden has a flat, wide tip (2 to 3 times as long as wide and fringed with whitish hairs. Underside covered with white hair.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata 2 males and female upper right. Apr 02, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata 2 males and female upper right. Apr 02, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.

Similar Species:
Males are large and have V-shaped point on underside of hind thigh (femur). C. dupla males have no V-shaped point and males of C. strenua have obvious white stripe on front leg.

Size: Female 7 to 8 mm. Male 5 to 7 mm.; largest of the Ceratina

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Pollen and nectar from a wide variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-March to mid-June; again late August to October.

Life Cycle:
Nest made by chewing out fresh twigs of elder, sumac, sassafras, blackberry, raspberry, roses, horseweed and teasel. Adults over-winter in the nests they were born in. Males start flying 2 weeks before the females, mating in April. The winter quarters (hibernacula) is not reused for new nests. Females stay with their young (6 or 7 only)  until they become adults, thus living almost a year. Females sometimes produce one small female (usually the first to hatch) to help with the nest. Adults of new brood are seen by the first week of August. One generation per year.
Parasites: Chalcid Wasp Axima zabriskiei, Baryscapus americanus, Coelopencyrtus hylaeoleter, Eurytoma species.
Ichneumon Wasp Hoplocryptus zoesmairi, Eupelmus vesicularis, Grotea anguina.
Parasitic Wasp Gasteruption tarsatorius, Jewel Wasps Omalus iridescens and Parasierola species.
Blister Beetle Meloe angusticollis
Mite: Pyemotes ventricosus

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Also Peel, Nipissing, Niagara and in Michigan.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page