• Family: Apidae
  • Tribe: Epeolini
  • Approximate # species in region: 9
  • Common name: cellophane-cuckoo bees

Epeolus are cleptoparasites of cellophane bees (Colletes spp.). They are typically orange-red and black, with cream-white or silvery bands on the abdomen. Females enter nests while the host female is out foraging for nest provisions; eggs are laid in the host brood cells, either attached to the wall of the brood cell or in between the double-layered brood cell lining. Regardless of the oviposition method, eggs hatch into larvae that quickly kill the host egg and develop on the pollen provisions. Many Colletes nests are still undescribed, meaning that relationships between Epeolus and their hosts are only presumed from frequent co-occurrence of certain Epeolus and Colletes.

Cleptoparasite-host relationships:

  • Epeolus lectoides and Colletes nudus (presumed)
  • Epeolus bifasciatus and Colletes latitarsis (presumed)
  • Epeolus scutellaris and Colletes simulans armatus (presumed)
  • Epeolus pusillus and Colletes speculiferus and C. americanus
  • Epeolus autumnalis and Colletes compactus compactus
  • Epeolus minimus and Colletes kincaidii

Species covered: none