Sunflower burrowing-resin bee (Paranthidium jugatorium) is an uncommon, distinctive bee found on sunflowers. P. jugatorium is common in both forests and nearby gardens within their range, but in the northeast, this range is seemingly restricted to high-elevation alkaline soils such as the Berkshires in Massachusetts or the Green Mountains in Vermont. The combination of woodland habitat and sunflower foraging preference is usually sufficient to rule out other anthidiine candidates. If not, this species’ combination of smoky wings, dark eyes, and yellow patterning is distinctive.
Active in summer, from July to September. One flight period per year.
Patchy in distribution, seemingly restricted to higher elevations in the northeast. Found along Appalachian mountains and associated foothills from Maryland through Vermont.
Size < honey bee
Males and females are similar. Face with long yellow lines along inner margins of compound eyes and yellow clypeus. Pitted black integument painted strongly with yellow markings. Long broken yellow bands across T2-T5, with the gap between the bands decreasing further down the abdomen. “Shoulders” of black thorax are framed by yellow corners. Not noticeably hairy. Smoky-dark wings held out while foraging.
- Anthidiellum notatum is similar sized, but has “staccato” markings on abdomen rather than consistently broad yellow markings on T2-T5. A. notatum has different habitat preferences: weedy legumes and nearby composites, rather woodland composites.
- Anthidium obglongotum lacks yellow thorax markings, has green eyes, has a single yellow spot on the face (vs. the “U” shape on P. jugatorium).
- Anthidium manicatum is much larger (2x larger than P. jugatorium), with strong yellow markings on thorax, glossy black integument, and, on males, spines on the tip of abdomen. Engages in patrolling behavior around garden ornamentals, especially around mints and tubular flowers like beard-tongues Penstemon unlike P. jugatorium.
Not much known. Appears to be restricted to higher elevation, alkaline soils in northeast. Nesting record indicates willing to use existing burrows of Melitoma taurea on exposed banks.
Fond on sunflower-like composite asters particularly sunflowers Helianthus, false ox-eye Heliopsis, and black-eyed susans Rudbeckia. Also known to visit garden cosmos.
Information missing for this species.
Michener, C.M. 1975. Nests of Paranthidium jugatorium in Association with Melitoma taurea (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae and Anthophoridae). J. Kans. Ento. Soc. 48: 194-200.
Page last updated:
February 15, 2023