Bees of Canada Logo

Osmia lignaria propinqua Cresson, 1864


Scientific Name: Osmia lignaria propinqua Cresson, 1864

Common Name: Western Blue Orchard Bee


Osmia propinqua Cresson, 1864 : 23 [♀]. Synonymy by Cockerell (1928: 234), as a subspecies of Osmia lignaria Say, 1837.

     Holotype ♀. USA, California, Fort Crook, by H. Ulke [ANSP no. 2719].

Osmia lignaria lignariella Cockerell, 1906 : 227 [♀]. Synonymy by Michener (1951: 1163).

     Syntype ♀. USA, New Mexico, Romeroville, 29 April [no year provided], by W. Porter, on wild gooseberry; New Mexico, Las Vegas, by R. Devine [UCMC].


Taxonomic notes: Cresson (1864: 24) indicated that his Osmia propinqua Cresson, 1864 may represent a western variety of O. lignaria Say, 1837, but noted that the emargination of the clypeus was deeper, with the lateral projections more prominent.

As indicated by Cockerell (1906: 227), Osmia lignaria lignariella Cockerell, 1906 was originally described as Osmia (Ceratosmia) lignaria var. α by Cockerell (1900: 409), with the New Mexico syntype localities provided in the earlier work. However, he (Cockerell 1900: 410), felt that it may be a distinct species, or the undescribed female of Osmia montana Cresson, 1864. In addition to formally naming this subspecific taxon (Cockerell 1906: 227), he indicated that specimens of Osmia ligaria Say, 1837 from Colorado were O. propinqua, then considered a valid species; Cockerell (1928: 234) subsequently recognized it as a subspecies of O. lignaria.

Sandhouse (1939: 10) did not recognize subspecies of O. lignaria and considered O. propinqua and O. lignaria lignariella as synonyms. Michener (1951: 1163) recognized the two subspecies, which was later followed by Rust (1974: 27).

Biology: Beal (1956) reported O. lignaria propinqua nesting in old Anthophora nests located in a hard earth bank. Nest associates included the beetles Ptinus californicus Pic, 1900 (Linsley and MacSwain 1941; Beal 1956)., and Tricrania stansburyi Haldeman, and the nest parasite Sapyga angustata Cresson; Linsley (1944) has also reared Sapyga emarginata Cresson as a nest parasite. Torchio (1989b) indicated that Stelis montana Cresson is a nest parasite. Torchio (1989b) indicated that Stelis montana Cresson is a nest parasite.


Torchio PF (1989b) Biology, immature development, and adaptive behavior of Stelis montana, a cleptoparasite of Osmia (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 82(5): 616-632.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Cavity Renter
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic
Wintering Stage: Adult

Crop Preference: Malus pumila
Non Crop Preference: Lupinus sp., Lupinus polyphyllus

Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Montane Cordillera, Pacific Maritime, Prairie, Western Interior Basin

female; lateral view
female; lateral view
male; lateral view
male; lateral view

Distribution Map