University of Maryland Extension

Meet a Pollinator: Cellophane Bee

Cellophane Bee
Colletes thoracicus. Photo by Hadel Go

Cellophane Bee (Colletes thoracicus)

  • An important pollinator of plants and not aggressive/defensive
  • Host plant families include Apiaceae (carrots), Rosaceae (stone fruits), among others
  • Underground cells are lined with clear “cellophane-like” material that the female bees produce to line the cells containing eggs/larvae and to make the cells waterproof
  • Is a solitary ground nesting bee – likes sandy soils
  • Has a very short life span – a month or so in the spring in the Northeast
  • Females emerge in the spring and go out collecting pollen and nectar to provision their nest in the ground. Females will lay an egg on or near a mix of pollen and nectar and the developing bee will emerge the following spring
  • If you can tolerate them, you may want to consider leaving them. Adult females will die off in a short time given their short life spans. A new generation will simply live as pupae underground for another 9-10 months until they emerge as adults.

By University of Maryland graduate student Lindsay M. Barranco, June 2018

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.