In most of the photos I have of these native bees, it is difficult to verify that they do, in fact, have four wings; here, in spite of the interference from the rhododendron naughty bits, the second wing shows up clearly.
|Another photo, showing the black tail that gives this species its common name.|
I still have trouble identifying bees and bee mimics. Almost every time, I go back to my post from 2008, "Once upon a time, bees were bees ...", where I sorted some of the locals out, with the help of two experts from BugGuide. Even there, though, I have a couple of unidentified ones. I'll have to look for better specimens this summer.