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103The introduced Osmia and Anthophora habits and identification.

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  • Sam Droege
    May 21, 2007


      Good suggestion...

      Osmia taurus and O. cornifrons appear nearly identical, particularly the males.  The technical separations are listed below.  In general these are large Osmia species, the same size as the closely related Blue Orchard bee, O. lignaria.  The females are distinct in the presence of a pair of extremely prominent horn-like projecting from either side of the clypeus.  The males are much closer in aspect to O. lignaria.  Both species' integument tends strongly toward the brown/black part of the spectrum but can have slightly metallic overtones.  Hairs can vary from black to white, but are more consistently categorized as tan with at times have a burn orange overtone, particularly prominent in some O. taurus specimens.  Their habits get them noticed in that they are constantly probing houses, garages, and lumber for nest sites.  Any open hole larger than about one-quarter inch seem useable and they often end up in people's homes who leave their unscreened windows open (like me).  Drilling holes in any sort of wood to create trap nests is an excellent way to monitor their presence .... and also makes it easy to study their distributional patterns as such nests could easily deployed over large areas in the winter and then picked up and reared the following winter (hint, hint).

      Pictures are available for O. taurus at:


      Just click on its name.

      You can google up pictures of O. cornifrons.

      Technical differences.

            Females - Extent of hairless region on clypeus.

      O. cornifrons - Hairs present on the clypeus immediately above the very large horns - these horns located on the far sides of the clypeus  

      O. taurus - Hairs present on the clypeus farther away from the very large horns, the distance without hairs above the horns about the same distance as from the top of the horns to the rim of the clypeus  


      O. cornifrons - The central straight portion of the apical rim of the clypeus is shiny and unpitted except in a few individuals which may have scattered pits on the far sides, this shiny area forming a uniform band across the front of the clypeus - Clypeus hair color white with a few black hairs on the sides - Scutum, scutellum, T1 and T2 hairs off-white to tan, with scattered black hairs intermixed on the scutum and scutellum, however these sometimes absent  

      O. lignaria - Clypeus hair color entirely white - Scutum, scutellum, T1 and T2 hairs bright white, may or may not have black hairs intermixed  

      O. taurus - The very center of the apical rim of the clypeus is shiny and unpitted but at the far edges of the straight portion of the rim, before it curves back towards the head, this rim is invaded by the same pattern of heavy pits and roughness found on throughout the rest of the clypeus, this roughness usually extends near but not quite to the rim, thus the shiny unpitted portion of the rim forms a semi-circle rather than a uniform band as in cornifrons - Clypeus hair color white with scattered dark hairs on the far sides - Scutum, scutellum, T1 and T2 hairs clearly orange to burn sienna, no black hairs intermixed  

      Anthophora plumipes

      This species is about the 1.5 times the size of a honeybee and is shaped like other Anthophora, that is to say mildly bumblebee like.  Overall the female, by far the most commonly observed sex, is a mix of smokey white and black hairs, giving it a dark but not black look, and thus is rather nondescript, however, the golden scopal hairs are distinctive.  The best place to seemingly find them is around foundation plantings of domesticated azaleas.  

      Google images has plenty of pictures of this species from Europe.


      Sam Droege  Sam_Droege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705

      All day and night, music,
      a quite, bright
      reedsong. If it
      fades, we fade
        - Rumi

      Matthias Buck <mbuck@...>
      Sent by: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com

      05/18/2007 09:19 AM

      Please respond to

      [beemonitoring] Re: Recently Introduced Bees

      Hi Sam and others,

      Thanks for the interesting postings on three species of introduced bees.
      I should watch out for them here in Ontario because many of the species
      that become established in your country make it up here pretty quickly
      (but we have not always done a very good job noticing them early!). Good
      examples are Megachile sclupturalis, Hoplitis anthocopoides, Chelostoma
      rapunculi, Ch. campanularum to name just a few.

      Unfortunately, my expertise is mostly in aculeate wasps. Could you post
      some brief diagnoses that will distinguish these species from others?

      I assume climatically all three should be able to become established
      here. Based on the distribution map referred to this would certainly be
      the case for the Anthophora.

      Best regards,


      Dr. Matthias Buck, Curator
      Insect Collection
      Dept. of Environmental Biology
      University of Guelph
      Guelph, Ontario
      Canada, N1G 2W1
      Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext.: 52582
      Fax: (519) 837-0442

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