Centris pallida typically feed on flowers that can withstand the hot temperatures of its habitat. These plants include palo verde (Cercidium microphyllum and Cercidium floridium), ironwood (Olnyea tesota), and creosote bush (Larrea divaricata). The palo verde pollen is the most common, and it gives the bee bread a strong orange color. Due to the large expenditure of energy by males during hovering and/or patrolling, they must consume about 3.5 times their body weight in nectar each day.
Centris pallida is a species of solitary bee native to North America. It lacks an accepted common name; however, it has been called the digger bee, the desert bee, and the pallid bee due to its actions, habitat, and color respectively. The solitary nature of this bee allows for a dual-strategy mating system which produces an evolutionarily stable state resistant to invading strategies. These bees have also evolved to withstand the high temperatures of their native habitat. C. pallida routinely has internal temperatures within 3 degrees Celsius of death.
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Centris pallida serve numerous roles for the environment. Like most other bees, they are essential for pollination. Specifically, they pollinate cacti, desert willow, and palo verde. The tunneling ability of these bees aerates the soil, and this allows water from rain to reach plant roots quickly. Their nitrogen rich feces fertilizes the soil. Their stings are mild, so they are not dangerous. The only downside with respect to humans is that their burrowing can leave unsightly mounds. If an area has a large density of burrowing females, then these mounds can be quite noticeable and are difficult to get rid of.
The other category of behavior (the hoverers) uses a very different strategy that relies on the inherent limitations of the patroller strategy. Females won't have copulated with a patroller if they weren't found before emerging, or if they departed while the male that found them was fighting off a rival. The hoverers will wait either near plants that are close to emergence areas, regardless of whether the plants are flowering, or at flowering trees and shrubs well away from the emergence areas. These bees will hover anywhere from a few centimeters to eight meters in the air. Since patrollers are generally looking at the ground to find emergence areas, hoverers have less competition over escaped females. Those that are close to the emergence areas are able to quickly spot any females that got away from the patrollers. Male bees that are away from emergence areas stake out flowering plants in the hope that virgin females will arrive seeking food. Also, low-emergence areas are less likely to be patrolled, and thus, more females emerge without copulating.