Long-Horned Bees (Alfalfa Bees)

Alfalfa Long-Horned Bees (Genus Eucera)

Size: Medium to Large (12-16 mm) {Size Comparison-the average honeybee is 13 mm)

Long-horned bees includes several genera of bees with similar appearances including: Eucera, Melissodes, Svastra (sunflowers bees), Peponapis (squash bees), and Xenoglossa (giant squash bees).

Eucera dubitata - Female Face

Eucera dubitata – Female Face

Color: Black bodies covered in dense golden hair on head and thorax with alternating bands of black exoskeleton and white hairs pressed close to the body; Abdomen hair color varies in different species; Legs are black; Antennae are very long – “long-horned bees”

Type of Flight: Very fast, non-hovering flight

Distinguishing Characteristics:
(1) Males’ antennae are very long (reaching over one-half of the bee’s total length)

(2) Females possess very thick, white, bushy pollen carrying hairs (scopa) on the bottom half of their hind legs (tibia and basitarsus)

(3) Males possess white to yellow markings covering the bottom half of the face

Abundance in Georgia: Uncommon to Locally Common

Typically Found in Georgia: Late April to August

Pollination Value: Very High (native plants); Moderate (agricultural crops blooming early summer); Important pollinator of alfalfa

Plants Associated with: Fabaceae (Family of alfalfa, peas, beans); Plantaginaceae (Family of common temperate zone small plants); Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family).

Nesting Habitat: These bees nest in the ground in solitary nests (not colonial); though often in large aggregations

Classification: Family: Apidae Genus: Eucera

Number of Species in Georgia: 5 species
Number of Species in the United States: 54 species

Photos taken by Sam Droege and staff at the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory (Used with permission)
–> Click on the photo to enlarge the image

Eucera rosae - Side View

Eucera rosae – Side View

Eucera rosae - Face

Eucera rosae – Face

Eucera rosae - Dorsal View

Eucera rosae – Dorsal View