Epeolus lectoides

Cuckoo Bee
Epeolus lectoides


Cuckoo Bee Epeolus lectoides female
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus lectoides female on Butterfly Weed July 13, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus lectoides male
Cuckoo Bee Epeolus lectoides male on Butterfly Weed June 30, 2011 at Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.

Head: Black, covered with very short, silvery hair. Lower face (clypeus) dark and bare. Cheeks very narrow about 1/3 eye width. Mandibles red, base and tips black.
Antenna: Black. Underside of base (scape) and segments 1 to 2 have some yellowish-brown to reddish-brown.
Thorax: Black, smooth and shiny. Collar stripe whitish. Segment 1 (scutum) with two white longitudinal lines, one on each side of centre; may be faint on male. Segment 2 (scutellum) black, lobed or indented at center on lower margin; points at each side (axillae) usually black, but can be slightly reddened on female sometimes. Thorax sides shiny, sparsely covered with silvery hairs. Tubercles partly reddish-brown, surrounded with white fringe. Underside of thorax covered with dense silvery hair.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) brownish-yellow on female, more reddish on male. Wings hyaline at base, gradually darkening to very dark wide band at tips. Veins brownish.
Legs: Brownish-yellow. Coxae black. Top of hind thigh (femur) somewhat dark. Hind shin darker in mid area. Mid and hind spurs dark.
Abdomen: Black and shiny. Lower edge of all segments have a light yellowish-hyaline rim. All stripes are white, very narrow and slightly interrupted at centre; placed just above lower margin border on each segment.
Segment 1 has 2 narrow, interrupted stripes.
Segment 2 has faint patch at side edges above narrow, interrupted stripe.
Segments 3 and 4 narrow, interrupted.
Segment 5 on female has wide greyish triangular patches on each side and a bright, silvery crescent at centre on lower edge.
Segment 6 on male has stripe entire.
Tip is twice as wide as long, squarish on female, round on male.
Underside of abdomen has dense, white, scaly hairs and stripes on 2 to 4.

Similar Species: Epeolus ilicis has rough, dull thorax; segment 2 (scutellum) lower edge is straight across, not lobed like E. lectoides. In E. ilicis, abdominal stripes rest on lower margin of each segment and not all stripes are interrupted. E. ilicis is rare in Ontario with 3 reported: 1 from Cochrane north of Timmins (#25153 Discover Life no date), 1 from Bruce Peninsula in 1953 and 1 from Guelph in 1978.

Size: 7 to 10 mm.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Adults feed on nectar and pollen of a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: July to September

Life Cycle: The female finds Plasterer bee Colletes nests, enters and lays an egg in provisioned cells. When larva hatches, it kills the Plasterer bee, and feeds on the stored pollen and nectar.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Kent County – Rondeau Prov. Park. Also in southern Michigan, Livingston County.

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