This family of highly beneficial bees consists of only solitary bees. They do not form colonies of workers and a queen, but instead the female works alone following mating to create a nest area for her offspring, usually in small chambers in the soil. She then provisions each chamber with pollen and nectar for the single egg in that chamber. A few species in the family are referred to as “cleptoparasites” in that the female deposits her eggs in chambers already provisioned with food and eggs by other species and the larva consumes that egg and then the food meant for the other species of bee. These bees are important pollinators, and while they are “capable” of stinging if trapped in a hand or clothing it is highly unlikely that they will sting people. They will sometimes land on people to sip at sweat, and this may result in a sting that is reported to be only mildly painful.
These beneficial bees should never be killed. Even when present in residential yards or child play areas the likelihood of stinging is exceptionally low, and the benefits of the bees outweigh any threat.