Drury’s longhorn bee (Melissodes druriellus) is yet another player in the marvelous theater of goldenrods and asters. Females have a distinctive “banded” thorax created by a cinnamon stripe on the apical half. Look for these bees in August and September, but you’ll have to be fast to catch a good glimpse— M. druriellus moves very quickly along inflorescences.
Late-summer into fall. In Massachusetts, active in September and early October.
Widespread, but seemingly more common in forested, northern latitudes.
Size ≈ honey bee
Females are distinctive among Melissodes. Thorax appearing “banded,” with stripe of cinnamon hair on apical side separating black vertex hairs and black thorax hairs. Pale hairs extend down sides beneath wing. Diffuse (not crisp) banding on abdomen. Packed scopal hairs are usually bright yellow full of aster pollen.
Males are trickier to identify in the field, but have bicolored antennae, a yellow clypeus and very pale thorax hairs. Their hairs on thorax and abdomen are variable in length, with some very long hairs, giving them a messy and ratty appearance.
Often the only Melissodes at a site based on phenology.
M. illatus is active at a similar time, but has a range restricted to more northerly latitudes, and lacks cinnamon hairs on apical side of thorax.
Ground-nesting and solitary, sometimes aggregated. Females plug nest entrances upon departure.
Asteraceae, found on goldenrods (Solidago spp.), wood asters (Symphyotrichum spp., Eurybia spp.), and flat-topped white aster (Doellingeria umbellata)
Triepeolus pectoralis is suspected of being a cleptoparasite.
Page last updated:
February 22, 2023