The Northern Cellophane Bee (Colletes floralis)

Welcome to the enchanting world of the Northern Cellophane Bee, scientifically known as Colletes floralis. These fascinating insects play a vital role in pollination and are a crucial part of our ecosystem. Join me as we delve into the intriguing characteristics and behaviors of these remarkable bees.

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The Northern Cellophane Bee belongs to the family Colletidae, a diverse group of solitary bees found across various regions. These bees are known for their important role as pollinators, visiting a wide array of flowering plants to collect nectar and pollen.


The genus name Colletes is derived from the Greek word “collētēs,” meaning ‘glue,’ referring to these bees’ habit of lining their brood cells with a waterproof secretion. The species name floralis highlights their strong association with flowers.

Physical Characteristics

Identifiable Traits: The Northern Cellophane Bee possesses a distinctive combination of physical features that set it apart from other bee species.

  • Body Shape: Euceriform
  • Coloring: Black with striking white markings
  • Antennae: Medium length
  • Hair: Dense, particularly on the thorax and abdomen
  • Abdomen: Striped pattern

These traits contribute to the Northern Cellophane Bee’s unique appearance and make it easily recognizable in its natural habitat.

Ecological Significance

As efficient pollinators, Northern Cellophane Bees play a crucial role in maintaining the biodiversity of plant species. By visiting flowers to collect pollen and nectar, they facilitate the reproduction of plants and support the health of ecosystems.


The Northern Cellophane Bee can be found in various habitats across North America, particularly in regions with abundant flowering plants. They are commonly observed in meadows, gardens, and other areas with a diverse range of floral resources.

Social Behavior

Unlike social bees such as honeybees, Northern Cellophane Bees are solitary insects. Females create individual nest cells in the ground where they deposit pollen and nectar for their larvae. Each female is responsible for provisioning and caring for her offspring without the assistance of a colony.

Nesting Practices

These bees are known for their unique nesting habits. Females excavate underground tunnels to create brood cells, which they line with a waterproof cellophane-like substance to protect the developing larvae from moisture. This distinctive behavior sets them apart from other bee species.

Floral Specialization

While Northern Cellophane Bees are generalist pollinators, they show a preference for certain types of flowers. These bees exhibit floral specialization by frequenting specific plant species that provide them with abundant pollen and nectar resources.

Natural Predators

Like many other bee species, Northern Cellophane Bees face threats from predators such as spiders, birds, and other insects. Predation can impact bee populations and disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems where these bees play a crucial role as pollinators.

Conservation Status

Given their importance as pollinators and their vulnerability to habitat loss and pesticides, Northern Cellophane Bees are in need of conservation efforts to ensure their continued survival. Protecting their natural habitats and promoting sustainable agricultural practices are essential for conserving these valuable insects.

Human Impact

Human activities, including urban development, pesticide use, and habitat destruction, pose significant threats to Northern Cellophane Bee populations. By raising awareness about the importance of these bees and implementing bee-friendly practices, we can help safeguard their future.

Interesting Facts

– Northern Cellophane Bees are excellent fliers, capable of navigating complex floral landscapes to forage for food.
– The cellophane-like lining in their nest cells helps protect the developing larvae from moisture, ensuring their survival.
– These bees have co-evolved with certain plant species, forming specialized relationships that benefit both the bees and the plants.


For more information on the fascinating world of Northern Cellophane Bees and their ecological significance, consider exploring the following scientific studies:

  1. Pollination Dynamics of Northern Cellophane Bees in North America
  2. Nesting Behavior and Brood Cell Construction in Colletes floralis

By learning about and appreciating these remarkable insects, we can all contribute to the conservation and protection of the Northern Cellophane Bee and its vital role in the natural world.

Northern Cellophane Bee (Colletes floralis)

  • Name: Colletes floralis
  • Rank: species
  • The northern colletes (Colletes floralis) is a species of bee within the genus Colletes. Northern colletes are solitary bees, though females may nest in what are termed aggregations – sites where the bees nest close together, but do not form colonies as social bees do. They nest underground in soft (often sandy) soil, digging burrows up to 20 times their body lengnth. It is often to be found nesting in coastal sand dunes and, on Hebridean…

    ID: 484488

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