Halictid Bees

This is a very large and diverse family of bees. They are small to medium-sized bees, and are often the most common bees encountered visiting flowers. About one-third of bees in East Africa are halictids.

Halictid bees nest in cavities, primarily in the ground as well as in wood. Halictids also exhibit a wide range of social behaviours. While the vast majority are solitary, a few halictid bees have variable levels of social organisation including communal nesting, sharing nests, semi-social, and even those almost fully eusocial.

Eusocial bees are those like honeybees with sterile workers who have given up reproducing, and instead support larvae from eggs laid by a fertile queen. This means that they are divided into a series of specialised castes.

Common genera of halictid bees in East Africa include Lipotriches, Nomia, Pseudapis, Lasioglossum, Patellapis, Seladonia, Thrincostoma, Nomioides, Cellariella, and Ceylalictus. The biology, behaviour and diversity of most halictid bees in East Africa remains poorly studied.


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Long-faced bee Thrincostoma sp. by D. J. Martins
Long-faced bee Thrincostoma sp. on a member of the hibiscus family by D. J. Martins
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Systropha sp. at an Ipomoea flower by D. J. Martins
Systropha sp. at an Ipomoea flower by D. J. Martins
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Seladonia sp. visiting Bidens sp. by D. J. Martins
Seladonia sp. visiting Bidens sp. by D. J. Martins
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Tiny Nomioides in a flower of Tribulus terrestris by D. J. Martins
Tiny Nomioides in a flower of Tribulus terrestris by D. J. Martins
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Nomia sp. approaches Solanum sp. by D. J. Martins
Nomia sp. approaches Solanum sp. by D. J. Martins
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