Cuckoo Bee (Nomada sp, Ruficornis Group)

One of the many species of Cuckoo Bees in Ruficornis Group found in North America. © Clay Bolt | www.claybolt.com

One of the many species of Cuckoo Bees in Ruficornis Group found in North America. © Clay Bolt | www.claybolt.com

I have become fascinated with Cuckoo Bees (Nomadidae sp). Not only are Cuckoo Bees visually appealing, but they exhibit really interesting behavior. And, as a whole, they are also hard to identify down to the species level without intense scrutiny, even for the experts, which I kind of like (on slightly pathetic note) since I still have so much catching up to do regarding my own bee identification skills.

Cuckoo Bees are considered to be a very primitive lineage of bees, which is evidenced by their wasp-like appearance. Since Cuckoo Bees are kleptoparasites of other species, they have no need for the scopal hairs that other bees use to collect pollen. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of Mining Bees (Andrena species), where their offspring consume the pollen stores provided by the host and ultimately starving out competing off-spring. Ahhh Mother Nature, you’re no lady, and I like it!

Cuckoo Bees in Ruficornis Group are small and very attractive bees that have a very wasp-like appearance © Clay Bolt | www.claybolt.com

Cuckoo Bees in Ruficornis Group are small and very attractive bees that have a very wasp-like appearance © Clay Bolt | www.claybolt.com

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