Epeolus – Quick ID

Quick ID
Southern Ontario Epeolus

Legs mostly dark:
Epeolus bifasciatus – The easiest; only two yellow stripes on abdomen. Thorax segment 2 (scutellum) is bright red.

Legs with ALL thighs (femora) black:
E. autumnalis has the yellow stripe on the collar (prothorax) unbroken.
E. canadensis has the collar is separated or broken at centre.

Mid thorax stripes in E. autumnalis go straight down.
Mid thorax stripes in E. canadensis are joined at mid thorax, forming a V- or U-shape.

E. canadensis flies from late June to early August.
E. autumnalis flies only in September.

Legs all reddish-yellow; only hind thigh (femora) black:
Epeolus lectoides – Comparatively, E. lectoides is the only one with very thin white stripes on the abdomen (although slightly wider at side edges); all stripes are interrupted or broken at centre.

Legs all reddish:
E. scutellaris thorax sides have one curved line of white hair.
E. pusillus thorax sides entirely covered with white hair.

E. scutellaris thorax segment 2 (scutellum) female entirely red.
E. pusillus thorax segment 2 (scutellum) male and female black.

E. scutellaris has the 2 stripes on abdomen segment 1 not joined at side edges of segment.
E. pusillus has the 2 stripes on abdomen segment 1 thickly joined at side edges of segment.

E. scutellaris male has dark streaks on underside of mid and hind legs. Thorax segment 2 (scutellum) is black in male, like E. pusillus. Difficult to separate the males.

 

Epeolus – General

Cuckoo Bee
Epeolus

 

Epeolus are cuckoo bee that attack only Plasterer Bees Colletes species. Females sneak into Colletes ground nests, and lay an egg between the two cellophane layers surrounding each cell. When the Epeolus larva hatches, it first finds the Colletes egg or larva and kills it by using its long mandibles. Then it feeds on the stored pollen/nectar mixture.

In general Epeolus have black faces with varying amounts of hair. No yellow on male faces, but usually they have more hair than the females. Females have 10 antenna segments, males have 11. Females have 5 visible abdominal segments, males have 6.
All have narrow cheeks (genae), and collar (prothorax) which extend to the tubercle on the thorax side.
Thorax and abdomen have white to pale yellow markings. All (except E. bifasciatus) have two mid stripes extending half-way down the thorax from the collar. Slight variations in these stripes are main ID marks for some Epeolus.
Thorax segment 2 (scutellum) is slightly raised, rough with arrow-like points projecting from the sides (axillae). Varying amounts of red on the scutellum are also main ID marks.

Except for E. bifasciatus, all have stripes on each segment of the abdomen, and the first segment has two stripes with a black area between them.
Epeolus are difficult to tell from Triepeolus. Triepeolus are usually larger. Females lack the bright white spot at abdomen tip which is present in most Epeolus.

Eight Epeolus regularly fly in Ontario. Two others are doubtful (E. ilicis and E. interruptus).

Northern Species:
Epeolus americanus (lanhami) – Rainy River; Sudbury
Epeolus minimus – Toronto to Rainy River
Epeolus ilicis  – cannot be verified in Canada
Epeolus interruptus  – One verified in Ottawa 1947

Southern Species:
Epeolus autumnalis – Essex County up to Toronto – Sudbury
Epeolus bifasciatus – Widespread in Ontario
Epeolus canadensis – Essex County up to Georgian Bay – Ottawa
Epeolus lectoides – Essex County up to Toronto
Epeolus pusillus – Rare – Essex County to Grand Bend – Ottawa
Epeolus scutellaris – Widespread in Ontario.

Nomada vicina

Cuckoo Bee
Nomada vicina

Identification:

Cuckoo Bee Nomada vicina female on Goldenrod. Sep 01, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada vicina female on Goldenrod. Sep 01, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.

Both male and female:
Head: Black with a few short, white hairs. Eyes bordered with reddish-brown line. Mandibles dark, toothless.
Top of mouth area (clypeus) has thin red line. Cheeks slightly narrower than eye width. Male has yellowish hair on lower face.
Antenna: Base (scape), pedicel and 1st segment more yellowish-brow, but not red. Rest of antenna dark brown. Underside brownish-yellow. Male has underside of base yellow.
Thorax: Dark brown with some reddish-brown streaks. Segment 2 (scutellum) raised knobs may be slightly reddish. Bottom end of thorax has tiny yellowish to whitish mark at each side; dense white hair on male. Thorax side have a few short, white hairs, more so on male.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) shiny, reddish brown. Wings darkly tinted, light spot near tips. Veins dark. Male wings have lighter tint.
Legs: Female legs reddish brown; dark streaks on thighs (femora). Male legs brownish-yellow with darker streaks; tips lighter.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada vicina female on Goldenrod. Sep 01, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada vicina female on Goldenrod. Sep 01, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.

Abdomen: Segments dark with bright yellow marks. Stripes on 3 to 5 about the same width.
Segment 1: Very narrow, wavy line, slightly interrupted at center.
Segment 2: Very wide stripe, notched at top, very slightly interrupted at center.
Segment 3: Narrow stripe, widely interrupted at center.
Segment 4: Narrow stripe, notched on lower border, barely interrupted at center.
Segment 5: Narrow stripe, notched on lower border, continuous.
Segment 6: Male only – same as segment 5.
Female tip squarish with tuft of dark hair; male tip wide, notched.
Underside of segments 2 to 4 with some yellow marks.

Similar Species: Females of Nomada banksi have an entirely red scape and base antenna segments, and while the scutellum also has red, it is more deeply grooved than in Nomada vicina.
Males of Nomada banksi have the clypeus is entirely bright yellow, and the scutellum either is entirely black or has a pair of small yellow spots. The marks on abdomen are superficially similar in the two, although minor differences are evident.

Size: Female 9 mm. Male 7 to 10 mm.

Habitat: Sandy meadows, forest edges.

Food: Goldenrod

Flight Time: August to September.

Life Cycle: Parasite of Mining Bees Andrena vicina per Hurd, 1979 and Andrena hirticincta.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies species list, 2008. Kent County – Komoka Feed Mill. Peel and Durham Counties. Also in southern Michigan (Livingston County).

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Nomada pygmaea

Cuckoo Bee
Nomada pygmaea

 

Identification:

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Golden Alexanders, May 29, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Golden Alexanders, May 29, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.

Female:
Head: Head dark red, somewhat yellowish on lower face, but not bright yellow. Eyes completely encircled with rusty reddish brown. Black patch over and between antenna, top of head between ocelli only. Cheeks nearly as wide as eyes, hind ½ or more black. Mandibles slender and simple at tips.
Antenna: Base (scape) more brownish-yellow. Segments dark brownish yellow on underside, darker on top side.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Dogbane. Jun 26, 2004 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Dogbane. Jun 26, 2004 Wheatley, Ontario.

Thorax: Dark red. Collar same, edges may be black. Segment 1 (scutum) red with a middle black line. Segment 2 (scutellum) red, quite deeply indented at centre. Segment 3 (propodeum) mostly reddish with black median line, sides black, with white hair. Thorax sides front half dark red, hind half all black; line of white hairs near lower edge of segment. Tubercles (pronotal lobes) brownish-yellow. Underside dense white hair.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) reddish-yellow. Wings lightly tinted at base, sometimes distinctly yellowish, becoming rather deeply tinted along outer margin and in marginal cell, only at top. Veins brownish yellow to dark.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Bittersweet May 29, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Bittersweet May 29, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.

Legs: Brownish-yellow. Thighs (femora) more or less dark, except at tips. Hind feet 1st segment (basitarsi) darkened, with white hairs.
Abdomen: Segments dark red.
Segment 1 dark across base of segment. No yellow.
Segments 2 and 3 only with widely separated, yellow marks.
Tip very short with silvery-white hairs, may appear as a whitish-yellow line.
Underside reddish, last segment has a very small tuft of brownish hairs on each side.

Male:

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male on False Indigo. Jun 13, 2016 Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male on False Indigo. Jun 13, 2016 Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.

Head: Upper face black. Lower face dull yellow to whitish, with thick white hair. Black, wavy line (suture) from each antenna base down to clypeus. Yellow stripe extends up inner eye margin to antenna bases, then becomes narrower around rest of eye, including the back. Black patch around antenna and on top of head. Cheeks much narrower than eye width, largely black, lower area covered with white hair. Mandibles toothless, bright yellow, tips dark.
Antenna: Base (scape) swollen, blackish on top side, bright yellow on underside. Base half of segments dark, rest lighter; underside brownish-yellow. Segment 1 and 3 shorter than all other segments.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male on Golden Alexanders, June 01, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male on Golden Alexanders, June 01, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.

Thorax: Reddish brown or black with reddish streaks. Collar yellowish-red, wide interrupt at centre. Segment 1 (scutum) with a middle black line. Segment 2 (scutellum) deeply and sharply indented in centre, reddish-yellowish. Segment 3 (propodeum) entirely black with white hairs on each side. Thorax sides mostly black with a some reddish-brown, tubercles (pronotal lobes) and sometimes a small spot behind yellowish-red, lower sides densely covered with white hair. Hair entirely white on underside.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male on False Indigo. Jun 13, 2016 Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male on False Indigo. Jun 13, 2016 Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.

Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) reddish-yellow. Wings sub-hyaline at base, becoming faintly tinted in marginal cell and at tips. Veins brownish yellow.
Legs: Reddish-brown, except all thighs (femora) black at base half. Dense white hairs on underside of all legs.
Abdomen: Base segment dark reddish-brown, rest much lighter reddish-brown.
Segment 1 black at base.
Segments 2 wide stripe, narrowing and slightly interrupted at center.
Segment 3 narrow stripe, slightly broken at center. May be absent.
Segment 4 band, widely interrupted. May be absent.
Segments 5 and 6 more or less yellowish brown at bases. No yellow bands.
Tip about as wide as long, distinctly notched.
Underside of all segments quite densely hairy, 2 to 4 yellowish brown; segments 1, 5 and 6 are darker.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Nannyberry June 02, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea female on Nannyberry June 02, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male about 5-6 mm on Climbing Bittersweet leaf June 01, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada pygmaea male about 5-6 mm on Climbing Bittersweet leaf June 01, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: Female 7 to 8 mm. Male 6 to 8.5 mm

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Flower nectar.

Flight Time: Late April to end of June

Life Cycle: Parasitic on Mining Bees Andrena.

Comments: Essex County: Ojibway Prairies insect list, 2008 as c.f. (close form). Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Peel, Norfolk counties and Algonquin Park. Also in southern Michigan (Livingston County).

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Nomada perplexa

Cuckoo Bee
Nomada perplexa

 

Identification:
Female:
Head: Black. Lower face reddish-brown. Line encircling eyes reddish-brown. Cheeks about same as eye width. Mandibles toothed.
Antenna: Base or scape and segment 1 more rusty reddish brown on top. Rest of segments blackish on top, brownish yellow on underside. Tips pale.
Thorax: Black. Collar brownish-yellow. Segment 1 (scutum) with reddish-brown streaks, and centre black line. Segment 2 (scutellum) rusty reddish brown, deeply indented at centre. Segment 3 (propodeum) is black, sometimes with reddish-brown streaks and with pale hairs. Thorax sides rusty reddish brown with some black and covered with pale hairs. Tubercles (pronotal lobes) brownish-yellow.
Wings: Wing knobs shiny, mostly brownish yellow. Wings lightly tinted, darker along costal edge. Veins dark.
Legs: Legs mostly brownish yellow, covered with lighter fuzzy hairs. The thighs (femora) darker on underside.
Abdomen: Dark reddish-brown, shiny, lower edge of 1 to 4 blackish.
Segment 1 no yellow.
Segments 2 has a small yellow spot at each segment side.
Segment 3 no yellow.
Segment 4 no yellow.
Segment 5 no yellow; lower margin white.
Underside reddish-brown, lower margins blackish and some whitish hairs.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada perplexa male on Spring Beauty. Apr 27, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada perplexa male on Spring Beauty. Apr 27, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.

Male:
Head: Upper face black, covered with silver-white hair. Lower face yellow, including under the eyes; dense silver-white hair. Cheeks as wide as eye width. Mandibles toothed, bright yellow, tips dark.
Antenna: Base (scape) dark. Segments dark rusty reddish brown, tips lighter. Underside light reddish-brown.
Thorax: Black. Collar reddish-brown. Segment 1 (scutum) black, may have reddish-brown streaks. Segment 2 (scutellum) rusty reddish brown, deeply indented at centre. Side of thorax with a small rusty reddish-brown mark nearer head and tubercles (pronotal lobes) reddish-brown.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada perplexa male on Spring Beauty. Apr 27, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada perplexa male on Spring Beauty. Apr 27, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings: Wing knobs shiny, somewhat reddish brown. Wings faintly tinted, darker along costal edge. Veins brownish.
Legs: Reddish brown, with black streaks on thighs (femora).
Abdomen: Very dark reddish-brown. Segments 2 and 3 with widely separated, bright yellow marks.
Tip slightly narrowed, bi-lobed.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada perplexa male on Spring Beauty. Apr 27, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada perplexa male on Spring Beauty. Apr 27, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: 6 to 8 mm

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Adults eat nectar.

Flight Time: April to July

Life Cycle: Parasite of Mining Bees Andrena.

Comments: Essex County – photos. Ojibway Prairies as cf. on species list, 2008. Niagara (St. Catharines). Also in Southern Michigan (Livingston County).

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Nomada ovata

Cuckoo Bee
Nomada ovata

 

Identification:
Female: Conspicuously lighter than N. cuneata.

Head: Dark red. Black between and just above antenna bases and black spot on top of head. Lower face brownish-yellow. A narrow yellow line continues up inner eye margin to base of antenna. Mandibles toothed, yellow, tips dark. Cheeks narrower than eye width, white hairs; hind margin black.
Antenna: Entirely red. Segment 1 shorter than 2.
Thorax: Dark red. Segment 1 (scutum) has wide black median band. Segment 2 (scutellum) knobs very small, same colour as background, hardly any indent. Segment 3 (propodeum) red with black median line near end, white hairs at side edges. Thorax side dark area from wing bases to between mid and hind legs. Tubercles (pronotal lobes) brownish-yellow. White hairs on thorax sides.
Wings: King knobs (tegulae) brownish-yellow. Wings slightly tinted, tips dark. Veins and stigma dark.
Legs: Clear red to brownish-yellow, not blackened.
Abdomen: Red, long, oval  with yellow spots variable from none to most segments.
Segment 1 base and sides black. No yellow.
Segment 2 small yellow spot each side, pointed toward centre.
Segment 3 smaller yellow spot each side, at extreme base and may be hidden.
Segment 4 yellow spots at each side, sometimes absent.
Segment 5 yellow spots, occasionally joined to form a bar, or may be absent.
Tip rounded or ovate – thus the name, hairy.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada ovata male on Dewberry. May 30, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada ovata male on Dewberry. May 30, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.

Male:
Head: Black. Upper face (front) dark. Lower face narrowly yellow, with wide and long dark area below antenna bases. Yellow continues up inside margin of eyes to base of antenna and around bottom of eye to half way up back eye margin. Cheeks slightly narrower than eye width. Mandibles toothed. Not much white hair.
Antenna: Base (scape) enlarged, brownish-yellow, more yellow on underside. Segments also brownish-yellow. Segment 1 slightly shorter or same as 2.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada ovata male on Wild Gernaium. May 24, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada ovata male on Wild Gernaium. May 24, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.

Thorax: Red with black streaks. Collar brownish-yellow. Segment 1 (scutum) median black line. Segment 2 (scutellum) spotted with yellow, sometimes red, deep indent. Segment 3 (propodeum) black with white hairs. Thorax sides black, with white hairs. Tubercles (pronotal lobes) brownish-yellow, larger brownish-yellow spot below tubercles.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) brownish-yellow. Wings slightly tinted, tips darker.
Legs: Brownish-yellow. Mid and hind thigh (femora) black, tips lighter.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada ovata male on Dewberry. May 30, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada ovata male on Dewberry. May 30, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.

Abdomen: Red.
Segment 1 may have yellow.
Segment 2 wide yellow stripe, narrowly interrupted.
Segment 3 narrower yellow stripe, narrowly interrupted.
Segments 4 to 6 sometimes have yellow spots.
Tip deeply bi-lobed.

Size: Female 7.5 to 10 mm. Male 7 to 9.5 mm.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Flower nectar.

Flight Time: May to June in Ontario.

Life Cycle: Parasitic on Mining bees Andrena.

Comments: Essex County – photos. Niagara – St. Catharines per Rutgers-Kelly thesis. Also in S. Michigan, Livingston County.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Nomada maculata

Cuckoo Bee
Nomada maculata

 

Identification:

Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata female on Dewberry. June 02, 2010 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata female on Dewberry. June 02, 2010 Wheatley, Ontario.

Female:
Head: Head reddish-brown. Black at base of antenna and on top of head. Cheeks slightly narrower than eyes, hind margin black. Mandibles toothed, tips black.
Antenna: Base (scape) reddish-brown. Segments more brownish. All segments longer than wide.
Thorax: Thorax reddish-brown. Segment 1 (scutum) has a narrow black middle line. Segment 2 (scutellum) shallowly indented at centre. Segment 3 (propodeum) reddish with dense silvery-white hairs on each side. Some black on thorax side, below wing base.  Hair pale, short on thorax sides.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) brownish-yellow. Wings sub-hyaline, narrowly tinted along outer margin and in marginal cell. Three submarginal cells, the 2nd very broad anteriorily nearly squared, 3rd narrowed nearly to a point. Veins dark.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata female on Sumac flowers. June 08, 2010 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata female on Sumac flowers. June 08, 2010 Wheatley, Ontario.

Legs: Entirely reddish-brown. Thighs (femora) bases black on underside.
Abdomen: Segments shiny; each segment is rusty reddish-brown, lower half darker. Lower border becoming more yellowish-hyaline.
Segment 1 base black, or may have faint small yellow spot on each side.
Segments 2 and 3 have medium to small spots on each side, extremely wide interrupt at centre.
Segment 4 band much inset from side edges and interrupted at centre, or may be absent.
Segment 5 with a pair of large, distinct yellow spots at centre.
Tip very wide and short, covered with silvery hairs, squarish at tip.
Underside entirely reddish-brown.

Male: darker

Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male on Peach-leaf Willow. Apr 25, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male on Peach-leaf Willow. Apr 25, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.

Head: Head black with short white hairs. Lower face bright yellow, hairy, with yellow extending up inner eye margin to antenna bases, and a small yellow mark at top of each eye, sometimes. Mandibles toothed, bright yellow, tips dark. Cheeks as wide as eye width.
Antenna: Base or scape brown on top, light red-brown on underside, no yellow. About first 5 segments dark, rest lighter reddish, underside of all segments light red-brown, same colour as base underside. Segments all the same size, longer than wide.
Thorax: Black covered with long pale hairs, and sometime streaked with reddish. Collar reddish-yellow. Segment 2 (scutellum) rounded, projecting knobs reddish-brown, only slightly indented. Segment 3 (propodeum or metanotum) entirely reddish-brown. Thorax side under wing knob rusty reddish brown. Tubercles (pronotal lobes) more brownish-yellow.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male on Fleabane. June 09, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male on Fleabane. June 09, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) shiny, brownish-yellow. Wings sub-hyaline, rather narrowly and lightly tinted along outer edge and around marginal cell. Veins dark.
Legs: Legs brownish-yellow to reddish-brown. Thighs (femora) bases black on underside, hind thigh black on top side, tip light. Underside of legs hairy.
Abdomen: Each segment reddish, with yellow bands, lower rim blackish. Line of hairs on lower

Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male on Peach-leaf Willow. Apr 23, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male on Peach-leaf Willow. Apr 23, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.

margin on segments 3 to 6 at side edges.
Segment 1 is black at extreme base, and with a pair of rather small, yellow spots each side of centre.
Segment 2 & 3  have wide bands, narrowing and rounded with a small interrupt at centre.
Segments 4 and 5 with even narrower vague yellow bands which are partly interrupted at centre.
Segment 6 with a vague yellow band on mid segment, base of segment is black.
Tip narrowed and down-turned, fringed on each side with dense white tufts.

Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male flying off Fleabane. June 09, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Nomada maculata male flying off Fleabane. June 09, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.

Underside reddish-brown, with black line on lower rims.

Size: Female 11 mm. Male 8.5 to 10 mm

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Adults eat nectar from many flowers.

Flight Time: Mid April to June ( males to May)

Life Cycle: Parasitic on Andrena vicina.

Comments: Essex County – Lake Erie Island and Ojibway species list, 2008. Peel County and S. Michigan.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page