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Melissodes / long-horned Bee

Family: Apidae

Genus: Melissodes

Common Name: Long-Horned Bee


Physical Appearance

Both males and females are golden-brown, often with some banding on the abdomen. They have a fuzzy thorax and noticeably hairy legs.

The female carries pollen in a brush of specialized hairs, called a scopa, on each hind leg. When loaded with pollen, the female scopae can resemble leg-warmers, which is sometimes a quick way to spot a female long-horned bee.


Males are slightly smaller than females and have particularly long antennae.



By evening male long-horned bees can often be found sleeping in clusters inside a flower or hanging onto a flower stem with their jaws.


Melissodes are important pollinators of North American wild sunflowers and also of hybrid sunflower crops.


Size: Small to medium sized robust bees, approximately 1/3 to 3/4 inch in length.



Melissodes species are restricted to the Americas. They are widespread and abundant across North America.


Number of species in North America

More than 120


Emergence Time
Mid to late summer


Nesting Habit
Ground nesting


Pollinated Garden Crops Include



Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas
Parkinsonia (paloverde, Jerusalem thorn)
Prosopis (mesquite)
Psorothamnus (dalea, smoketree)

Visited Plants

Agastache / Giant Hyssop

Asclepias / Milkweed

Bidens / Beggarticks

Chrysothamnus / Rabbitbrush

Coreopsis / Tickseed

Cosmos / Cosmos

Cucurbita / Gourd

Dalea / Prairie Clover

Erigeron / Fleabane

Eriogonum / Buckwheat

Gaillardia / Blanketflower

Geranium / Wild Geranium

Grindelia / Gumweed

Helenium / Sneezeweed

Helianthus / Sunflower

Holodiscus / Oceanspray

Larrea / Creosote Bush

Liatris / Blazing Star

Nepeta / Catmint

Ratibida / Prairie Coneflower

Rudbeckia / Coneflower

Silphium / Rosinweed

Soldiago / Goldenrod

Sphraeralcea / Globemallow

Symphyotrichum / Aster

Verbesina / Wingstem

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