The other day I noticed some small carpenter bees (Ceratina sp., Apidae) crawling around on a common dandelion flower (Taraxacum officinale, Asteraceae). These insects visit a wide range of plants, showing little specificity. This location was at the margin of a mesic forest and cultivated field in southeast Michigan, and the presence of both ruderal weeds like this dandelion as well as woodland wildflowers offered diverse choices for these bees. I’ve observed them on a number of different flowers.
These small, dark, metallic-green bees eat nectar and collect pollen to feed their larvae. They’re called carpenter bees because they dig tunnels in the stems of shrubs where they make their nests (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005). Adult females also overwinter within these tunnels.
Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson. 2005. Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects. Seventh Edition. Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.