two-spotted longhorned bee

(Melissodes bimaculatus bimaculatus)

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

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


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.




Male: 716 to ½ (11 to 13 mm)

Female: ½ to (13 to 15 mm)


Similar Species






Late summer and fall






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 Map



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







Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  


Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)  


Aculeata (ants, bees and stinging wasps)  


Apoidea (apoid wasps, bees, sphecoid wasps)  


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


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


Eucerini (long-horned bees)  


  Subgenus Melissodes  

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




Macrocera bimaculata

Macrocera binotata

Macrocera nigra

Melissodes bimaculata

Melissodes melanosoma

Melissodes nigra


Common Names


two-spotted longhorned bee










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



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



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



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.



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



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.



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






Visitor Photos

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Mike Poeppe


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

    two-spotted longhorned bee      








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Black Long-horned Bee (Apidae: Melissodes bimaculata)
Carl Barrentine

Jun 24, 2010

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

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

Jul 12, 2009

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

  Melissodes bimaculatus grooming
Amy Schnebelin

Jan 25, 2021

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

Jul 23, 2015

det. Sam Droege

  Melissodes bimaculatus
Michael Stockman

Apr 1, 2017




Visitor Sightings

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  Mike Poeppe

Location: west of Houston, MN

... after the rain today

two-spotted longhorned bee







Created: 9/13/2021

Last Updated:

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