Unidentified Bee
July 17, 2009
I put up a bee house for mason and leafcutter bees with 3/8 inch holes. The leafcutters came earlier in the year and have gone. Now some of the holes have been plastered over and two large black bees with rust colored hair are going in and out the holes. They have very large eyes with mandibles coming out very close to the eyes. Their small eyes are in line with the top of their large eyes. The thorax is black with rust colored hair along the sides and the first abdomen segment is rust colored. The second segment is black, then a thin white stripe, then the rest of the abdomen is black.
Karen Oliver-Paull
Northern most part of Lancaster Co., South Carolina

Giant Resin Bees nesting

Giant Resin Bees nesting

Dear Karen,
The Giant Resin Bee, Megachile sculpturalis,is an invasive exotic.  According to BugGuide:  “They are opportunistic and nest in existing wooden cavities, rather than excavating their own.  Recently introduced from Asia. To make things worse it turns out to be a good pollinator of another introduced invasive: kudzu.”  Here is how BugGuide describes the life cycle:  “The female bee nests alone and begins by preparing a cell in an existing tube or narrow cavity, using resin and sap collected from trees. Other materials such as bits of rotten wood and mud are also used in nest construction. Next she collects pollen and carries it to the nest on the underside of her hairy abdomen.  After completing several pollen collecting trips, she lays an egg on the pollen ball in the cell. Then she seals it, and prepares another cell. Continuing in this fashion, one female can complete about 10 cells. If the entrance of the nesting tube is directly exposed to the outside, the tube may be noticeably sealed with a resin, wood and sometimes mud cap. After the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the pollen and spend the winter within their cells. The larvae pupate in late spring and the adult bees emerge that summer.” North Carolina State University

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Location: South Carolina

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