Two-spotted longhorn bee (Melissodes bimaculatus) is one of the most distinctive bees in the northeast. Jet-black, with a zippy flight, and a tendency to visit common garden plants, M. bimaculatus is straightforward to find and identify in summer. Intriguingly, this species has a penchant for foraging on common agricultural crops like corn, squash, and beans and can be abundant in community gardens and agricultural fields.
Mid-to-late summer. In Massachusetts, active from late June through July.
Widespread and abundant, often associated with human-occupied sites.
Size ≈ honey bee
Females are entirely black with fluffy white hind leg scopal hairs. Two white spots on the tip of the abdomen are usually difficult to see.
Males are black with a yellow clypeus, white hairs on their mid and hind legs, and long antennae.
- Unmistakable among Melissodes–no other Melissodes in the northeast is predominately black.
- Megachile xylocopoides is similar in color, but larger, with abdominal scopal hairs (vs. hind leg scopae in Melissodes), dark wings and tendency to keep wings up while foraging.
Ground-nesting and solitary. Perhaps forms small aggregations, but we are unaware of any formal description of nesting.
Males are known to sleep in gardens, hanging from branches and grass blades by their mandibles, and often reusing the same sites night after night.
Generalized. Uses a wide variety of plants, but seems to prefer cultivated plants like squash (Cucurbita spp.), corn (Zea mays), beans (Phaseolus spp.), morning glories (Ipomoea pandurata), and moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora). Prefers tubular flowers for nectar like bee balm Monarda spp.
Triepeolus lunatus is suspected of being a cleptoparasite.
Page last updated:
February 22, 2023