longhorn bees

(Melissodes spp.)

longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Melissodes is a genus of late-season longhorn bees. It occurs throughout the the western hemisphere, from northern Canada to Argentina. There are at least 140 species worldwide, 97 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 15 species in Minnesota. They are found mostly in late summer and fall, when the majority of their host plants are in bloom. A few are generalist feeders but most are specialist feeders, feeding on the pollen of plants in a single genus or family of plants. Most feed exclusively on plants in the aster (Asteraceae) family. Most of these will feed on any plant in the aster family. A few specialize in plants in a single genus.      

Melissodes bees usually nest alone in the ground in sand or sandy loam soil. Adults are active during the day. Females spend the night in their nest. Males often congregate on groups of 10 to 20 at the end of the day. They grasp a plant with their mandibles and hang, unmoving, until morning. They are easy to photograph in the late afternoon.


Melissodes are hairy, moderately large bees, as large to one-and-a-half times larger than a western honey bee.

The body is robust and nearly all black. The thorax and abdomen are densely covered with relatively long and more or less erect hairs. On the male there is a pair of robust spines at the base of the seventh abdominal segment.

The plate on the face (clypeus) is not lobed, and each lateral margin touches the adjacent compound eye. The clypeus is black on females, yellow or partly yellow on males. Males have very long antennae, much longer than females. On both sexes, the first antennal segment beyond the scape and pedicel (first flagellomere) is much shorter than the second.

There are three submarginal cells on the forewing. The second cell is usually shorter than first cell and is always shorter than the third cell. The third cell is much longer than wide.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82.



Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  


Apocrita (narrow-waisted wasps, ants, and bees)  


Aculeata (ants, bees, and stinging wasps)  


Apoidea (bees and apoid wasps)  
  Epifamily Anthophila (bees)  


Apidae (honey bees, bumble bees, and allies)  


Apinae (apine bees)  


Eucerini (longhorn bees)  

Subordinate Taxa


longhorn bees (Subgenus Apomelissodes)

longhorn bees (Subgenus Callimelissodes)

longhorn bees (Subgenus Eumelissodes)

longhorn bees (Subgenus Heliomelissodes)

longhorn bees (Subgenus Melissodes)






Common Names


This genus has no common name. The common name of the tribe Eucerini is longhorn bees, and it is applied here for convenience.














On insects, a hardened plate on the face above the upper lip (labrum).



A segment of the whip-like third section of an insect antenna (flagellum).





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Alfredo Colon

    longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)   longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)  
  longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)   longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)



Found this guy sleeping early in the morning.

  longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos








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Other Videos
  Melissodes visits Helianthus in Ohio, USA July 20, 2016
obert Klips

Jul 20, 2016

Melissodes is a solitary ground-nesting bee with an affinity for pollen from flowers of the aster family (Asteraceae). Here, several females visits Helianthus (sunflower) at a garden in Franklin County, Ohio, USA July 20, 2016

  Melissodes longhorn bee
Oregon Bee

Aug 21, 2019

Melissodes longhorn bee

  longhorn bee (Apidae: Melissodes) on Blossom
Carl Barrentine

Sep 5, 2010

Photographed at Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota (05 September 2010).




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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)  
  Alfredo Colon
Summer 2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

longhorn bee (Melissodes sp.)  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 2/15/2020

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