Currently viewing the category: "Mason Bees and Leafcutter Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black bug with wings and 6 legs
Geographic location of the bug:  Denton texas
Date: 03/03/2018
Time: 03:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just curious as to what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  Justin

Mason Bee with Mites

Dear Justin,
The large insect in your images is some species of Hymenopteran, most likely a species of solitary Bee, and it appears to be crawling with Mites.  We searched for information on Bees and Mites and we discovered a site, Bee Mite ID, that can be used to identify the Mites, but better images are needed and input from someone with far more skills at identifying mites than we have, like an acarist, would be helpful. We found an image on BugGuide of a Bumble Bee with Mites, another image on BugGuide of an Orchard Bee with Mites, and an image of a Mason Bee with Mites also on BugGuide. Some Mites that infest insects and arthropods are detrimental to the health of the Bees and the Nests, while other Mites only use insects to move from place to place, a phenomenon known as Phoresy, and those Mites, even when numerous, are not detrimental to the host.  We will write to Eric Eaton in the hope of getting a more specific identification for you.  Was this Bee able to fly?

MasonBee with Mites

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
Yes, a mason bee covered in mites.  I am no mite expert and am not sure whether they are beneficial to the bee, detrimental to the bee, or of no consequence at all.  Looks like even mite experts are still trying to sort them out:
http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/beemites/
I wish I could be more helpful.
Cheers,
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

Facebook Posting by Lisa Phillips:  My Mason bee blocks got infested with these mites. Built new blocks and burned the old ones.

Daniel,
Thank you so much for the quick response. I’m not sure if it was able to fly. It did not try to fly away when i walked up to it so i am assuming that it couldnt. Unfortunately those are the only two pictures that i got of it.  I really do appreciate you finding this out for me.  I had never seen anything like it.  The only thing i could think of is that it was a bee or some sort of wasp with eggs or babies.  I remember seeing a spider with the babies on its back.  Thank you again.
Regards,
Justin

Hi again Justin,
The spider you saw is probably a species of Wolf Spider.  The female drags around her egg sac and carries she carries her spiderlings for a short time so they have time to disperse throughout her range.  We have been thinking about your sighting.  We suspect that it would be difficult for so many Mites to crawl on an adult Mason Bee, but a newly metamorphosed individual would be most vulnerable up until the time of its maiden flight.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Carpenter bee?
Location: Albuquerque, NM
July 10, 2017 12:48 pm
Hi – This bee was climbing in a hole the size of my pinkie in a wooden overhang. It was painted, but im not sure if the bee created this hole or the prior owner had drilled a hole leaving exposed wood. It was striped and where he was chewing, the wood began to swell. he never went fully in, just around the edge. I filled the hole with caulk and he went away. Thia is in Albuquerque, NM at about 5500 ft elevation in the hills. It was taken in June.
Signature: KJ

Mason Bee

Dear KJ,
This looks to us like a Mason Bee in the family Megachilidae, possibly
Lithurgopsis apicalis which is pictured on BugGuide.  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “Some are leaf-cutters, nesting in ground, in cavities, wood. Tunnels are bored in wood or in the ground. Cell is provisioned with pollen (and nectar?), an egg laid, and cell is sealed over with circular pieces of leaves, clay or other materials that fit tightly into cavity.”

Mason Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bee or fly identification
Location: Southern Tanzania
December 31, 2016 5:58 pm
Can you please identify this bee/fly?
Signature: Helen

Probably Mason Bee

Probably Mason Bee

Dear Helen,
Because it so resembles the Giant Resin Bee, we thought your Bee (definitely NOT a fly which would only have two wings) might also be a Mason Bee in the genus
Megachile.  We located many similar looking Mason Bees on iSpot including this individual and this individual.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Potter/Mason wasp?
Location: South Florida
September 7, 2016 8:14 pm
Sept 7, 2016 in my backyard I noticed a black and white bee-sized critter nectaring on Spanish Needle flowers. I hadn’t seen its like before and while I think it’s something in the Potter/Mason wasp tribe I was unable to locate any images on the ‘net that matched it.
Signature: Curious in Florida

Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee

Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee

Dear Curious in Florida,
Based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe we have correctly identified your Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee,
Coelioxys modesta.  According to BugGuide, the range is:  “Nebraska to Quebec and the New England states, south to Texas and Florida.”  According to Nature Search:  “This cleptoparasitic bee is approximately 3/8” in length.  The head is large and black with black eyes.  The thorax is black with light gray and black colored fuzz.  The abdomen is black with thin white bands.  Females have a pointed abdomen and males have tooth-like projections at the tip of the cone-shaped abdomen” and “This species is cleptoparasitic on other bees in this family.  The female uses her pointed abdomen to break into Megachile nests.  She removes the host egg and lays her egg in the nest.  The larva kills the occupant and then eats the pollen and nectar stores intended for the offspring of its host.  The female lacks the pollen brush under the abdomen typical of other bees in this family.”

Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee

Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee

Thank you! I had dismissed it as a bee because it was not gathering pollen and because the wings seemed wasplike. Live and learn. :^) I appreciate your generous sharing of information on all the unappreciated creeping, crawling and flying critters of the world.

Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee

Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Washington State Solitary Bee
Location: Washington, USA
June 23, 2016 11:40 pm
I found this odd unfurred black bee roaming around while we were planting flowers, and we figured it must be some sort of solitary bee, as there was only one at the time.
Signature: Wesley Grubbs

Leaf Cutter Bee

Leaf-Cutter Bee

Dear Wesley,
We believe this is a Leaf-Cutter Bee in the genus Megachile, a large and diverse genus.  It resembles the image of
Megachile relativa which is pictured on BugGuide, and the species has been reported from nearby British Columbia.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unusual bees in Southern California
Location: 90066
June 22, 2016 5:48 pm
I’ve been seeing these bees in my garden occasionally, and I haven’t been able to identify them. It’s about the size of a honey bee, but fuzzier and grayer. They seem to like yellow flowers best, especially cosmos. Do you know what they are? Where can I find more information about them?
PS: Great web site. This is an incredibly helpful resource.
Signature: Sunny in Mar Vista

Solitary Bee

Possibly Furry Leafcutter Bee

Dear Sunny,
According to BugGuide, there are 3500 species of Bees in North America.  We are guessing your white bee might be a Furry Leafcutter Bee,
Megachile perihirta, based on this BugGuide image, and according to BugGuide‘s data, there have been California sightings from May through October.  We will attempt to identify your second Solitary Bee, though we may just contact Eric Eaton to get his input as we anticipate difficulty securing an accurate identification if left to our own devices.

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize these were 2 different species.

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination