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Genus Hylaeus - Masked Bees

Yellow-masked Bee - Hylaeus - female Wasp 3 - Hylaeus OC Hymenoptera #14 - Hylaeus? - Hylaeus 9013433 wasp - Hylaeus modestus Unknown Hymenoptera - Hylaeus modestus Hylaeus - Hylaeus leptocephalus - male Hylaeus sp. - Hylaeus - male - female Small black wasp with egg? - Hylaeus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Colletidae (Plasterer and Masked Bees)
Genus Hylaeus (Masked Bees)
Other Common Names
Yellow-masked Bees is less appropriate as a large proportion of species have white masks and other markings, not yellow.
Numbers
51 spp. in 8 subgenera in our area, 739 spp. in 52 subgenera worldwide(1)
Subgenera not yet in the guide:
Metziella: monotypic subgenus (e. US -map)(1)
Prosopella: monotypic subgenus (sw. US -map)(1)
Identification
Unique yellow patterning on face beside the eyes. No metallic sheen. No pollen-collecting hairs. (2)
Range
Worldwide (map)(1)
Life Cycle
Nesting usually takes place in hollow dead twigs, like Sumac. Some nest in pre-existing cavities in wood and some nest in the ground. One species (H. leptocephalus) was found nesting with Halictid Bees in an earthen bank. Also in soda-straw traps and nail holes (R. R. Snelling, pers. comm.)
Remarks
Hylaeus lack external pollen transporting structures (e.g. scopa) and store pollen and nectar internally in a "honey stomach".
Print References
Metz, C.W. (1911) A revision of the genus Prosopis in North America. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 37 (2): 85-156.
Snelling R.R. (1966) Studies on North American Bees of the Genus Hylaeus. 1. Distribution of the Western Species of the Subgenus Prosopis with Descriptions of New Forms (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (98): 1-18.
Snelling R.R. (1966) Studies on North American Bees of the Genus Hylaeus. 2. Description of a new subgenus and species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 79: 139-144. (Full Text)
Snelling R.R. (1966) Studies on North American Bees of the Genus Hylaeus. 3. The Nearctic Subgenera (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 65(3): 165-175. (Full Text)
Snelling, R.R. (1968) Studies on North American Bees of the Genus Hylaeus. 4. The subgenera Cephalylaeus, Metziella and Hylaeana (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (144): 1-6.
Snelling R.R. (1970) Studies on North American Bees of the Genus Hylaeus. 5. The subgenus Hylaeus, s. str. and Paraprosopis (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (180): 1-59.
Snelling R.R. (1983) Studies on North American Bees of the Genus Hylaeus. 6. An adventive Palearctic species in Southern California (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 82: 12-16. (Full text)
Internet References
Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario, 2007, Vol. 138: Bees of the Genus Hylaeus of Ontario, pg. 138 by Romankova “Many Hylaeus species nest in hollow dead stems, others use different pre-existing cavities (in wood, ground, etc.).”
Psyche, 1975, Vol. 82: Occupancy by Hylaeus of Subterranean Halictid Nests by Barrows, pg. 74:
“Smith (1855) reported cells in hollow pieces of "flint stone"; Ferton (1932), in earthworm burrows;and Perkins (1899), in ground. The present paper concerns nests of H. bisinuatus in burrows of a halictine bee in an earthen bank; this is the first record of Hylaeus occupancy of nests of another hymenopteran.
H. bisinuatus has also been found in North America nesting in soda-straw traps and nail holes (R. R. Shelling, pers. comm.) and in Europe in hollow briar (Rubus) stems (Stoekhert, (1933). Thus this species evidently has behavior which is flexible enough to enable it to nest in a variety of preformed holes in a wide geographical area.

Mitchell, North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, 1960, Technical Bulletin #141: Bees of the eastern United States, pg. 60: “The most frequently mentioned nesting site is the pithy stems and twigs of plants such as sumac,although some species apparently nest in the soil or in old tunnels and burrows in a variety of places.”