Insects of the Month:

Agapostemon angelicus

Agapostemon angelicus, Green Sweat Bee

  • These bright-green metallic bees are often called “Sweat Bees” because of their close relatives in Halictus and Lasioglossum, though Agapostemon are not attracted to human sweat.
  • Many species in this genus are solitary, but some nest communally where up to 24 females may share a single nest entrance while still provisioning their own brood cells.
  • Green Sweat Bees are considered generalists, or polylectic, meaning they will forage on a wide variety of floral resources. 

 

Visit the Agapostemon angelicus, Green Sweat Bee species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Bumble Bee, Bumblebee, Bombus, Bombus ternarius, Tri-colored Bumble Bee, Queen Bee

Bombus ternarius, Tri-colored Bumble Bee

  • This bee is commonly found in the north eastern part of the United States west to North Dakota, and up into the Canadian Great Plains.
  • Bumble bees are social insects with annual colonies; a queen typically lives for one year and will die off with all her workers at the end of the season while a new queen overwinters in the ground.
  • These bees are capable of “buzz pollination,” a process where the bee uses her flight muscles to vigorously shake her entire body which causes the flower to release more pollen.
Visit the Bombus ternarius, Tri-colored Bumble Bee species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Halictus ligatus, Halictus, Halictidae, Sweat Bee, Bee

Halictus ligatus, Sweat Bee

  • Halictus ligatus is very widespread; it is found from the Atlantic across to the Pacific and southern Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The genus Halictus consists of ground nesting bees and can exhibit solitary or semisocial behaviors. This particular species has been known to create very elaborate nests.
  • These bees are found foraging on a wide range of floral resources, and are therefore considered “generalists.”

 

Visit the Halictus ligatus, Sweat Bee species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Epicauta, Blister Beetle, Epicauta sp., Meloidae, Cantharadin

Epicauta sp., Blister Beetle

  • Adults are commonly found foraging on the leaves & flowers of plants within Asteraceae, Fabaceae and Solanaceae, while the parasitoid larvae use grasshopper eggs as their host.
  • Within the genus Epicauta there are ~173 species found in North & Central America, and ~400 species worldwide.
  • The family Meloidae, to which Epicauta belongs, earns the common name of “Blister Beetles” due to the presence of cantharadin found in their bodily fluids. This substance is exuded as a defense mechanism when the beetle feels threatened and can cause blisters when applied to the skin.

 

Visit the Epicauta sp., Blister Beetle species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Anthophora walshii, Walsh's Anthophora, Anthophoridae, Apidae, Digger Bee, Solitary Bee, Mystacanthophora

Anthophora walshii, Walsh's Anthophora

  • A. walshii has been observed foraging on several flowers including species in the Aster, Mint, and Pea Families.
  • These robust bees are typically seen flying in the central United States during the summer months.
  • Anthophora species are solitary digger bees that nest along flat ground or in vertical banks; some nest in aggregates, meaning females excavate & care for their own nest in close proximity to others. 
Visit the Anthophora walshii, Walsh's Anthophora species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Melissodes rivalis, callirhoe bee, long horned bee, sunflower bee

Melissodes rivalis, Long-horned Bee

  • Melissodes sp. are long-horned bees commonly called “Callirhoe” or “Sunflower” bees, due to their observed foraging habits.
  • Bees of this genus range throughout North America, and typically nest in the ground.
  • Female Melissodes sp. have dense scopal hairs on their hind tibia for pollen transport.

 

Visit the Melissodes rivalis, Long-horned Bee species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Anastoechus

Anastoechus, Bee Fly

  • Bee flies of the genus Anastoechus are parasites of grasshopper egg pods.
  • Most species of the genus Anastoechus are confined to the western Unites States, although one species, Anastoechus barbatus, ranges throughout the U.S.
  • Adult Anastoechus are common visitors to plants in the aster family.
Visit the Anastoechus, Bee Fly species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Eristalis stipator

Eristalis stipator, Yellow-shouldered Drone Fly

  • Yellow-shouldered Drone Flies are aquatic filter feeders commonly referred to as “rat-tailed maggots”. 
  • Eristalis stipator ranges throughout the United States, and in warmer climates can be found throughout the year.
  • Adult Eristalis, including Eristalis stipator, bear some resemblance to male honeybees, which is why they are called “Drone Flies”.
Visit the Eristalis stipator, Yellow-shouldered Drone Fly species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Megachile latimanus

Megachile latimanus, Broad-handed Leaf-cutter Bee

  • Females of the Broad-handed Leaf-cutter bee use pieces of leaves, which they cut using their mandibles, to construct brood cells within their nests.
  • Like all female Megachile, Megachile latimanus transports pollen back to its nest on the underside of its abdomen.
  • Megachile latimanus is a ground nesting species, unlike the majority of Megachile, which nest in natural cavities such as those made by wood-boring beetles.
Visit the Megachile latimanus, Broad-handed Leaf-cutter Bee species page to see what plants these insects visit.
Helophilus latifrons

Helophilus sp., Marsh Loving Hoverfly

  • Marsh Loving Hoverflies, as their name suggests, are common in wetland habitats. 
  • Helophilus larvae are aquatic, and feed on decomposing organic matter.
  • Adult Helophilus feed on the nectar and pollen of the plants they visit.
Visit the Helophilus sp., Marsh Loving Hoverfly species page to see what plants these insects visit.