Subject: Megachilidae bee?
Geographic location of the bug: Andover, NJ
Time: 03:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi Daniel,
I was out in my pollinator garden snooping around this morning and discovered a large number of these small bees. Size is about 1/3 inch. They were in an area of my garden that has a bee house, but were not showing any signs of using it. I am wondering, however, if these are mason bees? Any help gratefully appreciated!
And I’m looking forward to a buggy summer.
How you want your letter signed: Deborah E Bifulco
While we agree this is a solitary Bee, we are uncertain of its exact identity. It might be a Squash Bee, one of the Longhorned Bees in the genus Peponapis. According to BugGuide: “these solitary ground nesting bees pollinate Cucurbitaceae more effectively than honeybees and line their brood cells with a waxlike material they secrete”. Do you have squash in your garden? We would not rule out that they might be Mason Bees in the family Megachilidae, which is well represented on BugGuide. We believe that with many solitary Bees, males emerge earlier and they will patrol areas where there is both abundant food as well as favorable nesting areas in anticipation of the appearance of females with which to mate. Male Bees will not be interested in your bee house. We look forward to future submissions from your “pollinator garden”. Perhaps one of our readers who has more experience keying out Solitary Bees will provide a more conclusive identification.