two-spotted longhorned bee

(Melissodes bimaculatus bimaculatus)

Conservation Status
two-spotted longhorned bee
Photo by Mike Poeppe
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Two-spotted longhorned bee is a hairy, black, moderately large bee. It occurs in the United States from Maine west to eastern North Dakota and Colorado, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas. Adults are active in late summer and fall when their preferred plants are in bloom. They feed on pollen from a wide variety of flowers in several plant families.

The female is ½ to (13 to 15 mm) in length. The hairs on the head are entirely black. The plate on the face above the upper lip (clypeus) is entirely black and unlobed. Each lateral margin of the clypeus touches the adjacent compound eye. The finger-like sensory appendages (palps) on the “under-jaws” (maxillae) have four segments. The antennae are black above, pale on the underside. They have 12 segments, a long scape at the base, a short pedicel, and a whip-like section (flagellum) with 10 segments (flagellomeres). The first flagellomere is much shorter than the second.

The body is robust and nearly all black. The thorax and abdomen are densely covered with relatively long and more or less erect black hairs. On the thorax the hairs are entirely black. On the abdomen the hairs are mostly black. There are sometimes a few white hairs on the extreme sides of segments 2 and 3. Segment 4 has a dense band of white hairs at the tip that is broadly interrupted in the middle, appearing as two bright white spots. This is the feature that gives the bee both its species epithet and its common name.

The legs are black and are covered with black hairs. The fourth segment (tibia) on the hind legs has a pale, feather-like (plumose) tuft of pollen-collecting hairs (scopa). The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments.

The wings are uniformly tinged brownish and have brownish-black or black veins. There are three submarginal cells on the forewing. The second cell is shorter than first and third cells. The third cell is much longer than wide.

The male is smaller, 716 to ½ (11 to 13 mm) in length. The antennae have 13 segments and are much longer. The clypeus is entirely yellow. There are white bands of hairs on segments 3, 4, and 5 that are very broadly interrupted in the middle. The hairs on segment 5 are much less dense then those on segment 4 of the female, and do not appear as bright white spots. There is a pair of robust spines at the base of the segment 7. The hairs on the tibia and the first tarsal segment (basitarsus) of the middle and hind legs are white. There is no scopa on the hind legs.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Male: 716 to ½ (11 to 13 mm)

Female: ½ to (13 to 15 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late summer and fall

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Pollen and nectar in the nest

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Pollen of a wide variety of flowers in several plant families

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Larvae are parasitized by lunate longhorn-cuckoo (Triepeolus lunatus).

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  9/13/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
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

Apinae (honey, bumble, long-horned, orchid, and digger bees)  
 

Tribe

Eucerini (long-horned bees)  
 

Genus

Melissodes  
  Subgenus Melissodes  
       
 

There are two subspecies of Melissodes bimaculatus. Only Melissodes bimaculatus bimaculatus occurs north of Florida.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Macrocera bimaculata

Macrocera binotata

Macrocera nigra

Melissodes bimaculata

Melissodes melanosoma

Melissodes nigra

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

two-spotted longhorned bee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Clypeus

On insects, a hardened plate on the face above the upper lip (labrum).

 

Flagellomere

A segment of the whip-like third section of an insect antenna (flagellum).

 

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.

 

Scopa

A brush-like tuft of hairs on the legs or underside of the abdomen of a bee used to collect pollen.

 

Tarsus

On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Mike Poeppe

 
 

... after the rain today west of Houston, MN

 
    two-spotted longhorned bee      
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  Black Long-horned Bee (Apidae: Melissodes bimaculata)
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jun 24, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (24 June 2010).

 
  Black Long-horned Bee (Apidae: Melissodes bimaculata) on Leaf
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jul 12, 2009

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (12 July 2009).

 
  Melissodes bimaculatus grooming
Amy Schnebelin
 
   
 
About

Jan 25, 2021

 
  Two-spotted Long-horned Bee (Melissodes bimaculata) closeup on Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata)
Tom Wassmer
 
   
 
About

Jul 23, 2015

det. Sam Droege

 
  Melissodes bimaculatus
Michael Stockman
 
   
 
About

Apr 1, 2017

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Mike Poeppe
8/7/2021

Location: west of Houston, MN

... after the rain today

two-spotted longhorned bee

 
           
 
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Created: 9/13/2021

Last Updated:

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