sunflower nomia

(Dieunomia heteropoda heteropoda)

Conservation Status
sunflower nomia
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Sunflower nomia is a medium-sized to large, dark, solitary, ground-nesting bee. It occurs in the southern two-thirds of the United States and in northern Mexico. There are two recognized subspecies of sunflower nomia. Kirby’s dieunomia (Dieunomia heteropoda heteropoda), the southern subspecies, is a large bee. Sunflower nomia (Dieunomia heteropoda heteropoda), the northern subspecies, is a medium-sized bee. Only the northern subspecies occurs in Minnesota. It was first collected in Minnesota in 1824 in Scott County. Its current range is thought to extend just to the southernmost counties of the state.

The male is (17 mm) in length.

The head is black and shiny. The face is rounded. There is a single line-like groove extending downward from the base of each antenna (subantennal suture). The tongue is short. The antennae on the female have 12 segments, on the male they have 13 segments. The last antennal segment on the male is broad and flattened.

The thorax is shiny black, coarsely punctured (pitted), and densely covered with hairs.

The abdomen is black, shiny, and densely punctured. At the end of each abdominal segment (tergite) there is a band of brown or light brown hairs. On the last tergite the band does not appear divided. When viewed from above, the first tergite is shallowly indented and has a shallow V-shaped groove on the front margin. The sides of each tergite have a tuft of pollen-collecting hairs. The tufts often wrap to the upper side.

The wings are tinted brown. On the forewing there are three submarginal cells. The basal vein on the forewing is strongly curved (arced) inward.

The legs are black. On the middle legs the third segment (femur) is greatly swollen. The fourth segment (tibia) has no spurs at the end. On the hind legs the femur is swollen but not as much as on the middle leg. On the male the tibia has a large, flattened, triangular extension on the inside. There are two spurs on the extension. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. The first segment on the hind leg is greatly elongated and has a fringe of hairs on the inside.




Female Length: 916 (14 mm)

Male Length: (17 mm)


Similar Species


Prairies, corn and soybean crops




July through mid-September






Life Cycle


Sunflower nomia is a solitary nester. The female builds a nest in the ground surrounded by a giant mound of excavated soil. The opening to the nest is at the base of the mound. While each nest is occupied by a single female, there are often many nests in a small area..


Larva Food




Adult Food


Pollen and nectar of mostly prairie sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris) but also other sunflowers


Distribution Map



24, 29, 30, 82.




Rare in Minnesota



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)  


Halictidae (sweat and furrow bees)  




  Subgenus Dieunomia  
  species Dieunomia heteropoda (sunflower nomia)  

There are two recognized subspecies of sunflower nomia. Only the nominate subspecies Dieunomia heteropoda heteropoda occurs in Minnesota.




Nomia heteropoda


Common Names


sunflower nomia

sunflower sweat bee










On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.






Visitor Photos

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Alfredo Colon

    sunflower nomia      

Scott Leddy

    sunflower nomia      





Dieunomia heteropoda
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  Dieunomia heteropoda  



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Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon
5/30 to 6/1/2021

Location: Woodbury, MN

sunflower nomia  
  Scott Leddy

Location: just outside of Rushford, in Fillmore County, MN

sunflower nomia







Created: 4/22/2021

Last Updated:

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