cuckoo bees

(Triepeolus spp.)

Overview
cuckoo bee (Triepeolus sp.)
Photo by Dan W. Andree
 

Triepeolus is a genus of cleptoparasitic nomad and longhorn cuckoo bees. It occurs North and South America and in Europe. There are 147 species worldwide, 108 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 4 species in Minnesota. Larvae are parasites of long-horned bees in the tribe Eucerini and in the genera Anthophora, Centris, Melitoma, Ptiloglossa, Xenoglossa, Protoxeae, and Dieunomia. Adults are active in summer and fall and feed on flower nectar.

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Triepeolus bees are ¼ to ½ in length and look like wasps. The thorax and abdomen are black with highly contrasting white markings. They are densely covered with short, appressed hairs but have no long hairs. The thorax has two white stripes and a white band on the margin which together give the appearance of a smiley face. The abdomen is black with white bands. The antennae are black, rarely reddish. The sensory organs (maxillary palps) attached to the jaw-like mouthparts have three segments. The legs are often reddish.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  7/11/2021      
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)  
 

Infraorder

Aculeata (ants, bees and stinging wasps)  
 

Superfamily

Apoidea (apoid wasps, bees, sphecoid wasps)  
 

Family

Apidae (bumble bees, honey bees, and stingless bees)  
 

Subfamily

Nomadinae (nomad and related cuckoo bees)  
 

Tribe

Epeolini  
 

Genus

Triepeolus  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

concave longhorn-cuckoo (Triepeolus concavus)

eucera cuckoo nomad bee (Triepeolus cressonii)

goldenrod longhorn-cuckoo bee (Triepeolus pectoralis)

lunate longhorn-cuckoo (Triepeolus lunatus)

simple longhorn-cuckoo (Triepeolus simplex)

squash longhorn-cuckoo (Triepeolus remigatus)

sunflower cuckoo nomad bee (Triepeolus helianthi)

thistle longhorn-cuckoo (Triepeolus donatus)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

This genus has no common name. The common name of the subfamily Nomadinae is nomad and related cuckoo bees, and is used here for convenience.

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Maxillae

Paired mouth structures of arthropods located immediately behind the mandible and used for tasting and manipulating food. “Under-jaws”.

 

Palp

Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and insects, and as weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi or palps.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Dan W. Andree

 
    cuckoo bee (Triepeolus sp.)   cuckoo bee (Triepeolus sp.)  
           
 
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  Dan W. Andree
Late June 2021

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

cuckoo bee (Triepeolus sp.)

 
           
 
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Created: 7/11/2021

Last Updated:

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