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Mission, Texas

Heriades variolosa; resin bee; Sharp-Eatman Nature Photography



Tribe Osmiini - Genus Heriades

Heriades are referred to in some popular texts as  “resin bees”.   These native bees nest in pre-existing holes in wood and hollow stems, and they use plant resin to plug entrances to their egg chambers.  Heriades are specially equipped with mandibles designed to scrape resins and saps from plants.

Heriades of several subgenera are found throughout the world, but a single subgenus, Neotrypetes, occurs within North America, ranging from Canada to Panama.  Approximately 10 Heriades species inhabit the United States, at least 7 of which are found in Texas.  

The common name "resin bee" is also applied to other bee genera – for example, resin bees of the genus Megachile are shown on this guide’s leafcutter bee page.  Heriades tend to be smaller than resin bees of that genus.  The variegated Heriades resin bees shown here, for example,  are a mere 5-6 mm (less than 1/4 inch) in length.

​​Physical Characteristics of Heriades Resin Bees

Like the Osmia mason bee shown in this guide's preceding section, Heriades belong to the tribe Osmiini of the family Megachilidae.  Females carry pollen on scopal hairs under their abdomens; and the bees' forewings have only two submarginal cells.


According to entomologist Charles D. Michener, defining traits of bees of the genus Heriades include the following:  (1) A ridge runs across the front top edge of the first segment of the bee's abdomen (as shown in the accompanying photo strip); and (2) the front face of the bee's abdomen is concave.

Heriades found in the United States are black with pale hair bands.  Coarse Indentations pit their heads, thoraxes and abdomens.  The scopal hairs on female bees' abdomens are usually white and often long and conspicuous even to the naked eye, despite the bees' small size. 

Male Heriades can be recognized by their abdomens, which curl under, the tips nearly touching the front segments.  On males, only S1 and S2 (the first two segments of the sternum) are generally visible when the bee is turned over. Viewed from above, the last segment of the male bee's abdomen (T7) is hidden by the sixth segment (T6).  The tip of the male Heriades abdomen lacks notches or teeth, a trait which helps differentiate this genus from similar bees of the tribe Osmiini, such as Osmia and Ashmeadiella. These features are illustrated in the entry below.


Heriades females of various species are differentiated by minute traits such as the appearance of ridges and protuberances on their jaws, and the density and size of the pits on their upper abdominal segments.  Males are told apart by equally minute attributes, such as sculpting and pitting on the sternum; and the length of the vertex (the distance between the small eyes called ocelli and the back of the bee's  head).

Pollinator Plants

Heriades  tend to be generalist pollinators that forage on a range of plants.  The female variegated resin bee featured below  was found collecting pollen from the  weed known as romerillo  (Bidens alba).  Heriades variolosa is a common species in all three counties of the Valley.  It is most visible during the fall, and often found feeding on small-flowered Asteraceae.

Heriades variolosa; Copyright 2023 Sharp-Eatman Nature Photography

A female variegated Heriades resin bee



Order:   Hymenoptera

Family:   Megachilidae

Subfamily:   Megachilinae

Tribe:  Osmiini

Genus:  Heriades

Subgenus:   Neotypetes

Species shown on this page:  
    Heriades (Neotrypetes) variolosa
(Variegated resin bee)

Heriades Species of the National Butterfly Center

Variegated resin bee

Heriades (Neotrypetes) variolosa

Family: Megachilidae

Size: 7 mm  (female)

          5 mm (male)

Associated  plant at NBC:  


Bidens alba
(Family Asteraceae)

When found:

October 2019

This is a common species in

Cameron, Hidalgo & Starr Counties.

Heriadies variolosa resin bee - (c) Copyright 2019 Paula Sharp

A female variegated resin bee (Heriades variolosa)

Heriades variolosa; Copyright 2023 Sharp-Eatman Nature Photography

A male variegated resin bee:  the curled-under abdomen is characteristic of male Heriades bees.

CITE THIS PAGE:  Sharp, Paula and Ross Eatman.  "Heriades."  Wild Bees of the National Butterfly Center of Mission, Texas. 15 Jan. 2019,  Accessed [day/month/year guide accessed].

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