Melissodes bimaculata

Two-spotted Digger Bee
Melissodes bimaculatus

Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata female on Ironweed. August 22, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.
Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata female on Ironweed. August 22, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: Unmistakable. Both male and female are all black with yellow hind legs.

Female: Entirely black. Underside of antenna brownish-yellow. Hind shin pollen basket (scopa or corbicula) has yellowish-white feathered hair. Abdomen segments 2 and/or 3 may have traces of white at lower side edges. Segment 4 has white bar on each side edge.

Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata male on Purple Coneflower. July 20, 2004 Wheatley, Ontario.
Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata male on Purple Coneflower. July 20, 2004 Wheatley, Ontario.

Male: Hair whitish on upper face and top of head (vertex). Lower face (clypeus) very pale yellow with 2 dark spots. Mandibles dark with some yellow at base. Very long antenna, black on top side, brownish-yellow on underside. Middle and hind shin (tibiae) covered with white to yellowish-white hair. Abdomen has obscure, thin whitish marks at side edges of 3 to 5. Marks on 5 longer.

Size: Female 13 to 15 mm. Male 11 to 13 mm.

Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata male on New England Aster. September 23, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.
Two-spotted Digger Bee Melissodes bimaculata male on New England Aster. September 23, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-July to late September

Life Cycle: Ground nesters. Parasitized by Cuckoo Bee Triepeolus lunatus.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies, Point Pelee.
Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park

Synonyms: Lepeletier 1825
Macrocera bimaculata, Macrocera binotata, Macrocera nigra, Melissodes melanosoma

References:
Boston Journal of Natural History, 1834-37, Vol. 1 by Say, pp. 404 to 405.
Psyche, 1894-96, Vol. 7, pg. 25.
The Canadian Entomologist, 1905, Vol. 37, by Cockerell, pp. 266 to 267.
North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, 1962, Technical Bulletin #152: Bees of the Eastern United States by Mitchell.

Types:
Holotype as Macrocera binotata male & female by Say, 1837. Type Locality: unknown. In National Museum of Natural History, London, England.
Holotype as Melissodes melanosoma male by Cockerell, 1905. Type Locality: Fedor, Texas. In California Academy of Sciences, Institute for Biodiversity Science & Sustainability, San Francisco, California. Type #15507. No photos.

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