Epeolus bifasciatus

Cuckoo Bee
Epeolus bifasciatus

Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female on Virginia Mountain Mint Jul 29, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female on Virginia Mountain Mint Jul 31, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female on Virginia Mountain Mint Jul 31, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female on Culver’s Root Jul 29, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus bifasciatus female on Virginia Mountain Mint Jul 31, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: Males and female similar. Abdomen has only 2 yellowish stripes. Thorax segment 2 (scutellum) entirely red.
Head: White hairs faintly circle antenna bases in female. Cheeks very narrow.
Antenna: Scape and segment 1 reddish, rest of segments black, antenna short.
Thorax: Black. Collar scaly light yellow, not interrupted at centre. Segment 1 (scutum) dark, rough and pitted, no white median lines. Segment 2 (scutellum) red, with a spine (axilla) at each side edge. Yellow line across bottom edge. Thorax sides bare, tubercle reddish.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) red. Wings dark.
Legs: Reddish. Underside of hind thigh (femur) dark. Legs may be black in northern populations. Spurs black.
Abdomen: Black, short. Segment 1 has a scaly, very wide light yellow stipe, slightly indented or interrupted at centre, and most times with a yellow line just below the stripe. Segment 2 has a narrower yellow stripe on lower edge. Abdomen tip is squarish on female, rounded on male.

Size: 7 to 9 mm long.

Flight Time: June to September.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Adults eat nectar. Larva are cleptoparasites of Plasterer Bee Colletes latitarsis.

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs in ground-nesting cells of Plasterer bees Colletes latitarsis. Larva hatch and kill the Plasterer bee egg and feed on the provisions of pollen and nectar stored in the cell.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee species list; Lake Erie Islands species list.  Kent County – Rondeau Prov. Park species list, 2009. Also in southern Michigan.

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

Leave a Reply