Epeolus canadensis

Cuckoo Bee
Epeolus canadensis


Cuckoo Bee Epeolus canadensis female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus canadensis female on Flat-topped Aster Aug 09, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus canadensis male
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus canadensis male on Virginia Mountain Mint Aug 03, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: The only one to have the white stripes on thorax joined, forming a V-shape.
Head: Black. Dense whitish hairs around bases of antennae, more so on male.
Antenna: Black – females 10 segments, males 11.
Thorax: Black, all segments more or less outlined in yellow. Collar (pronotum) stripe interrupted at center. Segment 1 (scutum) has a V-shaped patch of hairs at center (rather than the two median stripes like other Epeolus). Segment 2 (scutellum) with black spines at each side (axillae). Below lower edge is a double row of hairs, widely interrupted at center. Segment 3 (propodeum) has light fringe of hairs at each side. Thorax sides have dense pale hairs on top half, lower half bare. Tubercle reddish-brown surrounded with a fringe of pale hairs.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark reddish-brown. Wings lightly tinted, tips darker.
Legs: Legs can be covered with a thin coat of whitish pile. Thighs (femora) black, shins (tibiae), feet and spurs reddish-yellow.
Abdomen: Black with yellow stripes on all segments.
Segment 1 has a stripe at both the base and lower rim, and joined at side edges. Lower stripe widely interrupted at center.Segment 2 and 3 stripe slightly interrupted or indented at center. Male 2 and 3 entire or slightly indented at center, but not broken.
Segment 4 stripe entire on both.
Segment 5 on female can have a wide unbroken band, narrowing at center, or slightly interrupted. Segment 5 and 6 on male entire.
Female tip bright white, triangular. Male tip U-shape with raised lip and very short hair tuft.
Underside of segments 2 to 4 striped on both male and female.

Similar Species: E. autumnalis is almost identical but has collar stripe entire; 2 median stripes on thorax, not a V-shaped patch; abdominal segment 1 lower stripe has much narrower interrupt at centre; segment 5 has widely separated spot on each side.
E. autumnalis flies in September, E. canadensis flies late June to mid-August.

Size: Female 9 mm. Male 6 to 8 mm.

Flight Time: Late June to mid-August.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: The larva are cleptoparasites of Plasterer Bees Colletes. Adults eat nectar.

Life Cycle: All species of Epeolus are cleptoparasites of Plasterer Bees Colletes. The female finds Plasterer bee nests, enters and lays an egg. When larva hatch, it kills the Plasterer bee egg or larva, and feeds on the stored pollen, nectar.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies and Point Pelee National Park. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park.
Range: ON, QC, NS, NY, MI, IN

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