A C. pallida female will find a spot for her nest. She will then dig diagonally down about 12 inches (30 cm). At the end of this tunnel, she will dig an 1 inch (2.5 cm) long vertical chamber where the egg will be laid. The chamber will be about 8 inches (20 cm) below the surface. In this chamber, the female will form a brood pot lined with wax. The brood pot will contain nectar and pollen similar to the bee bread in other bees; however, unlike other bees, the bee bread is the consistency of molasses instead of being solid. The egg is laid on top of the bee bread and sealed in with wax, and the tunnel is partially filled with dirt to protect the egg. A female can create several of the burrows during her lifetime.
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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.
This bee is black and densely covered in a grey pubescence or fur on the dorsal side. The thorax fur has a slightly yellow color. The legs have a mixture of black and reddish fur. The ventral side of the bee is covered in a brownish or dark yellow fur. The wings are fairly transparent except for the black veins that run through them. Males and females are similar in size at about 16–17 millimeters. Males have eyes more yellow in color, and their thorax fur is lighter. Females have eyes more green in color, and their thorax fur is more brown than grey.