Megachile sculpturalis

Giant Resin Bee
Megachile sculpturalis

Identification: Introduced from eastern Asia (China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea) and arrived in North Carolina in 1994. In Windsor in 2002 and in Point Pelee in 2003.

Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis female on Everlasting Pea, Aug 04, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis female on Everlasting Pea, Aug 04, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.

Head: Black, covered with black hair. Mandibles large and wide, 4 teeth on female; smaller with 3 teeth on male. Cheeks twice as wide as eye width on female. Male cheeks as wide as eye, underside has long yellow hair; area above mouth (clypeus) and around antenna bases has yellow hair. Male clypeus is flat, female’s protruding.
Antenna: Black.
Thorax: Black, entirely covered with bright, brownish-yellow hair. May have small to large black area or bald at centre of thorax. Hair changes to white on old individuals.

Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis female on Everlasting Pea. Jul 22, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis female on Everlasting Pea. Jul 22, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) reddish-brown. Wings yellowish on base half, rest very dark. Veins reddish-brown. Holds wings out to sides when feeding.
Legs: Black, covered with black and brownish-yellow hair. Underside and middle foot fringe brownish-yellow. Male has less yellowish-brown hair. Front foot more reddish-brown than female. Hind leg longer and thinner than female.
Abdomen: Both male and female are parallel-sided, not cone-shaped. Abdomen black with a slight bluish tint; segments slightly constricted. Segment 1 covered with bright-brownish-yellow hair. Segment 2 and sometimes segment 3 have white pile at side edges on lower margin.

Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis female on Everlasting Pea. Jul 07, 2005, Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis female on Everlasting Pea. Jul 07, 2005, Wheatley, Ontario.

Female tip pointed; underside covered with hair (pollen basket) brownish-yellow at base, rest black.
Male tip appears squarish (curved downward); underside entirely black. Male abdomen is shorter, wings reach tip.

Size: 18 to 24 mm long. Females are larger than males.

Habitat: Anywhere with tree spa (maple and pine).

Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis male on Milkweed. Jul 31, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Megachile sculpturalis male on Milkweed. Jul 31, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.

Food: Nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers, prefers non-native plants.

Flight Time: Mid-June to early September

Life Cycle: Nest in aggregations in pre-existing cavities, prefers Carpenter Bee holes in shaded areas. They do not chew wood. Females line their nest with tree resin (maple or pine) along with bits of rotten wood and sometimes mud, but not leaves. 8 to 10 cells per nest. Larvae pupate in late spring. These bees are not aggressive, and even when disturbed at the nesting site, the female will usually fly away. Males do not sting at all, females are not defensive, even at nest site. Classed as stingless bees.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee, Ojibway Prairies. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Along north shore of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and now in Quebec.

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

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