Extracted from 2017 “Bees of Maryland: A Field Guide” http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf
Mostly uncommon bees, except for the recently introduced A. villosula which can be
quite common in DC and surrounding suburbs in early spring and is expected to
become increasingly common.
Field Marks: ♀♂Robust, Bumble Bee-shaped, often seen hovering in one place in
front of flowers. Some species hair patterns match Bumble Bees, others with more
extensive pale hairs. Wings, clear, not darkened. Head, top of head, more or less
flattened. ♀Pollen carrying hairs on tibia and basitarsus of moderate length. Hairs
longer on the hind tibia than the basitarsus. ♂Face, below the level of the antennae,
extensive yellow/white/pale integument, including areas to either side of the
clypeus and adjacent to the eyes. Most species with pale mark on first antennal
segment (scape). Antennae short, not extending much past the base of wings if held
Flight Season: Spring to fall, primarily summer.
Size Relative to Honey Bee: 1.5 – 2X.
Position of Wings Feeding on Flowers: Slightly to the sides or overlapped.
Location of Pollen Carrying Hairs: Hind tibia and basitarsus.
Similar Genera: Bombus - ♀Hind tibia, wide, shiny, and bare in center, often carry
large, noticeable mixed masses of pollen/nectar (rare species are parasitic and look
like males); does not hover. Anthophora never have large moist masses of pollen
on their legs, pollen usually hidden between hairs and carried dry. ♂Face entirely
black though may have yellow hairs. Habropoda - A. abrupta and H. laboriosa are
very similar looking. A. abrupta is out later (late May to June) vs. mostly April to
early May. ♀Mostly on blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and Eastern Redbud (Cercis
canadensis) ♂Face, white marks between clypeus and eye only a very narrow
vertical line, A. abrupta with most of that region filled by white. Face, antenna, first
antennal segment black. In A. abrupta, first segment of antenna with prominent
white mark on outside face. Ptilothrix - Legs much longer in both sexes. Wings held
across back. Overall narrower. Mostly feeds on rosemallow (Hibiscus spp.). Hair
on thorax dense, pale and short. ♂No white on face. Xylocopa - Larger, wings
smoky to dark brown, held out at 45° angle. Eucerini (Long-horned Bee Group) -
♀Hind tibia and basitarsus have overall longer and more copious hair; hair of two
segments equally long with no apparent break between the two. ♂Clypeus yellow
(rarely white); no pale markings between clypeus and eye; no pale mark on scape.
Antennae long, extending well past base of wings when pulled back.
Nest: Usually clay soil, often aggregating together uses upturned tree roots, cliff
faces, chinking in old log cabins, under decks.
Flowers: Nectars and a variety of flowers
- Andrej Gogala