Lasius neoniger

Labour Day Ant
Lasius neoniger

 

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger workers and males. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger workers and males. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Medium brown, hairy. Eyes large, but not as large as L. alienus.
Antenna: Dull yellowish-brown.
Thorax: Dull yellowish-brown to slightly reddish, lighter than head and abdomen.
Wings: Both male and female have slightly tinted wings, veins and stigma yellowish-brown. No pattern or dark shading.

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen and workers. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen and workers. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Legs: Light to medium brown. Four erect hairs on hind shin (tibia).
Abdomen: Medium brown. Top of abdomen hairy.
Queen similar, but has darker thorax. Male is entirely black.

Similar Species: Easily confused with Lasius alienus workers which have larger eyes and much darker brown to black color. L. alienus live in damp, shady parts of a forest. Lasius neoniger live in open, dry areas like lawns.

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: Workers 2.5 to 3 mm. Males 4 mm, Queens 7 to 8 mm

Habitat: Meadows, grass, prairies, sand dunes; well-drained soil in cultivated fields. Usually the dominant species in lawns and golf courses with dense populations creating craters above the soil.

Food: Mealybugs and aphid honeydew; other insects, dead or alive, and flower nectar.

Flight Time: Mid Aug to mid Sept. but usually around Labour Day. Late afternoon, just before rain.

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 26, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 26, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Life Cycle: Nests in soil, forming volcanic-like mounds above ground level. Colony hibernates in winter with 1st instar larvae. Nocturnal, foraging at night for dead insects. Farms root aphids by storing aphid eggs in nest during the winter. When hatched, the ants carry them to plant roots to feed. If using the Corn Root Aphid Anuraphis maidiradicis the ants will transport them to the corn roots. They also tend honeydew from other insects like late-instar butterfly larvae of the Frosted Elfin Callophrys irus.

After the late-season nuptial flight, queens shed their wings, hibernate in small cavities in the soil and start a new colony the next spring. Queens will sometimes invade other Lasius species colonies. Often mixed colonies are found. Lasius in general and particularly  neoniger do not sting or use formic acid. Mature nests usually contain from 1,000 to 10,000 individuals, and queens can live 15-20 years.

Predators: Yellow Jacket Wasps Vespula maculifrons prey on Lasius neoniger nuptial flights.

Cuckoo Wasp (Eucharitidae) Pseudometagea schwarzii lays eggs on plant flower buds, when hatched the larvae hitch a ride on the L. neoniger ant to the nest, where it feeds on the ant larvae.

Nest Mates: Short-winged Mold Beetle Adranes species are allowed in L. neoniger nests to live.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park per BOLD in 2012. Wheeler recorded it from Sudbury.

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

Sleeping Arrangements

Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata male
Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata male on Purple Giant Hyssop July 22, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

The Two-spotted Digger Bee  Melissodes bimaculata is named for the white patches on each side of the abdomen of the female. The males showed up first, (no patches) on English Lavender and Purple Giant Hyssop, around July 15 last year (2016). At night they slept by hanging on to the leaves of Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana.

 

 

 

Cuckoo Bee Triepeolus lunatus male
Cuckoo Bee Triepeolus lunatus male on Obedient Plant July 16, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

By July 22, the Cuckoo Bees Triepeolus lunatus showed up, at least 5 females and 1 male. They all hung around the Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).
Triepeolus lunatus females hunt for the Two-spotted nests and lay eggs in their cells. When the Cuckoo larva hatches, it either eats the egg or the larva, and then feeds on its nectar/pollen mixture stored in the cell.

 

 

Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata female
Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata female on Big Bluestem flowers Aug 17, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

The Two-spotted females showed up around the first of August, favoring the Giant Purple Hyssop and were quite attracted to the pollen on Big Bluestem. They spent the night in their nests near the Obedient Plants.

 

 

 

 

Cuckoo Bee Triepeolus lunatus female sleeping
Cuckoo Bee Triepeolus lunatus female sleeping on Obedient Plant Aug 04, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

But the others all slept together on the Obedient Plants! Both the male and female Cuckoo Bees and the Two-spotted males. Not on the same leaf, but very close and quite comfortable with each other.

Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata males sleeping
Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata males sleeping on Obedient Plant July 28, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

Xylocopa virginica

Eastern Carpenter Bee
Xylocopa virginica

Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male on Grape bulb flower (exotic). Apr 15, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male on Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead Sep 12, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male and female nest in pine board fence
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male and female just emerged from hibernation. Homes made in pine board fence. April 18, 2008. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female on Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead Sep 09, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female on Stonecrop Sep 18, 2004. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female Jun 17, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Female head entirely black. Male has yellow spot above mouth and green eyes.
Thorax: Yellow with a small, center bald spot.
Wings: Dark
Legs: Female has entirely black hairs; hind leg hairs used to collect pollen, but no basket like bumblebees. Males have yellow fringe on underside of entire front leg.
Abdomen: Flattened on underside. Segment 1 yellow, sometimes worn off, especially in females. Rest of abdomen shiny black with some hairs at side edges and tip only.

Size: 20 to 25 mm

Habitat: Anywhere wood can be used as a nesting site. Uses pine boards or dead pines without bark.

Food: Nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-April to early June; again from mid-August to mid-September.

Life Cycle: Use same nests year after year. As populations increase, new nest holes, perfectly round with a chewed out tunnel will be made adjacent to old nests. Only one new generation per year (Aug to Sept), overwinter as adults in the same nest in which they were born, emerging the next spring to mate and lay eggs. 6 and 8 end-to-end cells are constructed in the tunnel. Each cell provisioned with pollen and regurgitated nectar, 1 egg laid on top, then capped with chewed wood pulp. Very docile, not known to sting. Parasitized by Bee Fly Anthrax.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park and Ojibway Prairies. Throughout Ontario and southern Michigan.

Bombus vagans

Half-black Bumblebee
Bombus vagans

Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans on Germander, Jul 17, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans on Fireweed, Jun 24, 2010 Celista, B.C.
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans on Germander, Jul 17, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans on Tall Sunflower, Sep 08, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans
Half Black Bumblebee Bombus vagans on purple Vetch Jun 30, 2010 Celista, B.C.

Identification:

Queen & Worker:
Head: Black hairs with a dense yellow tuft in the centre of the top of the head (vertex). Face black, longer and thinner than B. sandersoni.
Thorax: Yellow to tawny, except for a small (larger in worker) shiny bare spot at centre, intermixed with black between the wings.
Wings: Lightly and uniformly tinted, veins brownish.
Legs: Black with long black fringe. Front thigh has slight graying. Feet brown.
Abdomen: Segments 1 and 2 are yellow to tawny, and segment 2 might have an indent at centre on lower border. Segments 3 to 6 entirely black. Underside black.

Male:
Head: Hair yellow, especially bright below antennae, on top of head in the centre (vertex) and cheeks. Rest of face intermixed with long, black hairs.
Thorax: Bright yellow with a tiny bare spot centrally between wing bases. Black hairs intermixed with yellow on thorax sides.
Wings: Slightly tinted, more so at tips.
Legs: Legs have many long, yellow hairs on thighs. Hairs become darker toward feet. Hind shin (tibia) slender and shiny with some yellow hairs mixed with the black.
Abdomen: Segments 1 and 2 have long yellow hair. Segments 3 to 7 are black. Underside with yellow hairs.

Similar Species: Sanderson’s Bumblebee Bombus sandersoni has very few yellow hairs on top of head and flies later than the Half Black. It is much smaller.

Size: Queen 18.5 mm. Worker 11 to 13.5 mm. Male 12 to 15.5 mm.

Flight Time: May to end of September.

Habitat: Woodlands and forest edges.

Food: Generalist feeder on pollen and nectar from a wide variety of flowers.

Life Cycle: Queen builds nest either above and below ground and sometimes tries to take over the nest of another established queen. She builds a wax honey pot and fills it with honey and pollen, then lays a batch of eggs on the pollen, covering them with a waxed sheet. Eggs are kept warm by the queen. Hatched larvae are continually fed by the queen until they pupate. The first brood become workers and take over nest maintenance and honey & pollen foraging. Queen, workers and males die at the end of the season. Only mated females live to hibernate in sheltered locations until the next spring.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park; Ojibway Prairies. Also in Leamington. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park.
Parasitized by the Lemon Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus citrinus.

Bombus impatiens

Common Eastern Bumblebee
Bombus impatiens

Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens worker
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens worker on Culver’s Root, Aug 01, 2008. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens tiny worker 7 mm.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens tiny worker 7 mm. On Canada Anemone. Jun 19, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen and worker early
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen and worker on Crocus. Very early date for a worker. Apr 04, 2005. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen early
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen on Globe flower very early date Mar 10, 2017. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen hibernation
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen coming out of hibernation Apr 01, 2005. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen, Mining Bee Andrena carlini male
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens queen harassed by territorial Mining Bee Andrena carlini male on Crocus Apr 08, 2005. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens male
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens male on Aster Oct 06, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens male
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens male on Joe-Pye Weed Aug 19, 2004. Wheatley, Ontario.
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens worker
Common Eastern Bumblebee Bombus impatiens worker on New England Aster Sep 20, 2008. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Queen and Worker:
Head: Mostly black hair with some yellow on top of head. Face is shiny. Head is square.
Thorax: Yellow with black circle at centre which can be large or small. Thorax sides yellow.
Legs: Entirely black.
Abdomen: 1st segment yellow, sometimes with lower centre of stripe indented. Other segments black, may have faint line of fringe on lower margin of each segment.

Male:
Head: Face mostly with yellow hair. Top of head yellow hair. Long antenna.
Thorax: All yellow with centre black.
Legs: Yellow fringe mixed with some black on thigh (femur). Hind shin is very slender and shiny with long black, but sparse fringe. Hind legs are long.
Abdomen: 1st abdominal segment is yellow. Yellow hairs at side edges of underside.

Size: Queen 20 to 21 mm. Workers 9 to 17.5 mm. Males 12.5 to 16 mm.

Flight Time: April to October.

Habitat: Woodlands and forest edges, preferring sandy areas.

Food: Generalist feeder of nectar and pollen from a wide variety of flowers.

Life Cycle: Bombus impatiens typically chooses nest sites below ground in preexisting holes, often using discarded rodent nests. Nest can be many feet deep. Bombus impatiens stores pollen in old cocoons or cells. Up to 450 workers in a nest.
Parasitized by the Lemon Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus citrinus. Vector for the new (2000) Pepino mosaic virus in greenhouse tomatoes.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park, Ojibway Prairies. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Widespread across Ontario and Michigan.

 

Bombus griseocollis

Brown-belted Bumblebee
Bombus griseocollis

Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis worker
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis worker on Milkweed, July 02, 2015, Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis male
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis male on Cup Plant, Aug 19, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis male
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis male on Blazingstar, Aug 06, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis worker
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis worker on Blazingstar, July 15, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis queen
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis queen on Lupines May 30, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis queen
Brown-belted Bumblebee Bombus griseocollis queen on Dutchman’s Breeches April 19, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Queen and Worker:
Head: Black. Worker has some yellow on back of head.
Thorax: Dense, short yellow hairs, including the sides right down to the legs. Centre with bare elongated spot, small with a few short black hairs.
Wings: Uniformly black with brown to blackish veins. Worker wings lighter.
Legs: Hair on legs very short, entirely black.
Abdomen: Segment 1 is yellow. Segment 2 is more yellow on queen; yellowish-brown on worker; the yellow is restricted to center of segment with curved side edges extending up along base of segment. Segments 3 to 5 black.

Male:
Head: Face has pale yellow hairs all over with a few black hairs intermixed on the top of the head. Face is narrow, huge eyes.
Thorax: Dense, short pale yellow hairs with small, central circular area grey to black hairs. Thorax sides all yellow.
Wings: Darkly tinted, veins yellowish-brown.
Legs: Fringe on thighs (femora) long and yellow. Lower legs have long, dark grey or black fringe. Abdomen: Segment 1 yellow. Segment 2 is yellow-brown at centre, the yellow-brown side edges curving out and extending along the base of the segment. Segments 3 to 6 are black.

Similar Species: Two Spotted Bumblebee Bombus bimaculatus has side edges of yellow on segment 2 straight up and down, not curved, queen and worker have yellow on top of head.

Size: Queen 20 to 22 mm. Worker 13.5 to 18 mm.  Male 15 to 19 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, forest edges, nesting in dry soils above the ground.

Food: Generalist pollen and nectar feeder from a wide variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-April to late September.

Life Cycle: Nest can have about 35 workers. Workers are very aggressive in defence of the colony. Males share in the brood care by warming pupae. They are often found with worn wings.

Comments: Essex County only in Leamington and Wheatley after 1980. In Colchester, Kingsville, Point Pelee and Pelee Island before 1980 per Colla. Common in rest of Ontario.

Bombus fervidus

Yellow Bumblebee
Bombus fervidus

Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus worker
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus worker on Culver’s Root, July 27, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus male
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus male on Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead, Aug 24, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus queen
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus queen on Blue Wild Indigo, Jun 09, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus male
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus male on Culver’s Root, July 31, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus queen
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus queen on Lupine, May 28, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus worker
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus worker on Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead, Aug 16, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus queen
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus queen on Lupine May 30, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus worker
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus worker on clover Jun 26, 2005 Wheatley, Ontario.
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus male
Yellow Bumblebee Bombus fervidus male on spent Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead Sep 09, 2011 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Queen and worker:
Head: Face is black with only a few gray hairs just above the antennae; worker has more gray.
Thorax: Yellow with a black band between wing bases. Yellow continues down thorax sides before wings; rest of sides black.
Wings: Very dark with black veins.
Legs: Legs, hair and fringe on pollen basket entirely black.
Abdomen: The abdomen is yellow on segments 1 to 4 and black on segments 5 and 6.

Male: Hairs are longer than queen and worker.
Head: Face is black with a few yellowish hairs intermixed on top of head (vertex) and some obscure gray on face. Face much blacker-looking than the similar American B. pensylvanicus.
Thorax: Yellow with black band between wing bases. Sides yellow before wings; rest of sides black.
Wings: Lightly tinted – lighter than female.
Legs: Black. Fringe yellow and black mixed on thighs (femora), lower legs have black fringe.
Abdomen: Segments 1 to 5 bright yellow with slight black stripe between segments. 6 and 7 black entirely black.

Similar Species: Northern Amber Bombus borealis has much more yellow on entire face. The American Bombus pensylvanicus has no yellow on lower half of thorax.

Size: Queen 19 to 21 mm; Worker 14.5 to 17.5 mm; Male 11 to 20 mm.

Flight Time: Mid-May to early October.

Habitat: Meadows, roadsides and in open areas.

Food: Adults and larvae feed on flower nectar and pollen.

Life Cycle: In the fall newly mated females hibernate in litter until the next spring. They can be aggressive if their nest is disturbed. Sometimes queens will try to take over other nests. Workers will cover the invading queen with honey to push her out of the nest. Queens lay an average of 20 eggs a day for about 4 months. Workers hatch in 3 weeks and live for a month. Large workers forage, smaller workers are nurses to larvae. Nest size is between 100 to 200 bees. Towards the end of the season workers may lay unfertilized eggs but these are usually consumed by the queen, then the workers retaliate by consuming the next generation of eggs laid by the queen (Goulson 2003). In some colonies the second brood is all male and the third brood is female. Workers of the later broods become progressively larger.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies. Canadian National Collections (CNC) have specimens from Point Pelee, Pelee Island and Kingsville. Also in Tilbury and Colchester.