Bernheim Pollinators: The Long-horned Bee

By Kelly Vowels

Long-horned Bees are a tribe of bees that include over 700 species worldwide. They get their name from the long antennae found on the males. There are over 30 genera in the group, which includes the genera Melissodes, which are called long-horned bees. Melissodes spp are a group of small fuzzy bees that are an important pollinator of crops and wildflowers. They normally pollinate only species found in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), and specialize in sunflowers, daisies, and asters. They are ground-nesting bees that will nest singly in vertical holes in the ground, and can be seen flying throughout the summer.

Protection of all pollinators is very important to the continued health of our crops and wild habitat. Melissodes spp are an important pollinator of sunflower crops, watermelon crops, and many wild plant species in the Asteraceae family. You can protect these wonderful pollinators by planting wildflowers around your home, reducing your use of insecticides, and just allowing the bees to live. Instead of swatting a bee away, spend time watching these amazing creatures fly from flower to flower. Without them and other pollinators we would not have the healthy habitats we have today.

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