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  • Cuckoo Bee - (Sphecodes spp.)

    Cuckoo Bee - (Sphecodes spp.)

    The Cuckoo Bee mimics the Cuckoo Bird, using oblivious members of the bee order to do the work of raising their young for them.

    Picture of Cuckoo Bee
    Staff Writer (1/3/2014): This sweat bee gets its name from its parasitic behavior. Females Cuckoo Bees enter another species' nest and change out their own bee eggs for the eggs of other sweat bees. They cover their tracks as they leave, pushing loose soil back over the nest's opening. (In the aviary world, Cuckoo birds are known to swap out the eggs in another bird species' nest in order to make room for their own. The oblivious bird owners of the nest feed the Cuckoo birds, not realizing they are not their own kind.) Other sweat bees are easily duped by the Cuckoo Bee larvae and the result is a free-ride for the adult Cuckoo Bee from providing for their own young.

    Adults are active in spring and summer and can be found in parks, gardens, meadows and other open habitats. They are known to be good pollinators of flowers, making them a beneficial insect in the garden and on the farm.

    They are not fuzzy, or hairy, like other bees. Instead, they have a more wasp-like appearance. Among the many species of Cuckoo Bees, there is a great diversity of color and striping. This particular species lacks the black/yellow coloring commonly associated with bees.

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    Details of the:
    Cuckoo Bee

    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Cuckoo Bee
    Scientific Name: Sphecodes spp.
    Other Names: Sweat Bee, Halictid Bee

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Halictidae
           Genus: Sphecodes
            Species: spp.

    Size (Adult, Length): 4mm to 15mm (0.16in to 0.59in)

    Identifying Colors: black; red

    Additional Descriptors: fuzzy, buzz, flying, stinging, beneficial

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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