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Colletidae (Plasterer Bees, Miner Bees, Masked Bees)
The bees in this family have short, bilobed tongues. They have often been regarded as the most primitive family of bees. Female bees line their brood cells with a clear liquid mixture of chemicals, which is water-proof and resistant to fungal attack. Two subfamilies will be described. Colletinae (Plasterer Bees, Miner Bees): These hairy bees are solitary and dig nests in the ground. At favorable sites, such as an eroded bank, they may construct nests in sufficient numbers to resemble a "bee village," even though no sharing of labor was involved. Hylaeinae (Masked Bees): These relatively hairless bees lack an external structure to carry pollen (which is swallowed and stored in the crop), and resemble wasps. They are usually black, with white or yellow markings on the face, hence the name, "Masked Bees." They construct nests in plant stems, plant galls, tunnels of wood-boring insects, abandoned nests of other bees and wasps, or in the ground.


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