Cuckoo Wasp (Chrysis spp.)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cuckoo Wasp.
Updated: 2/26/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The bright, metallic shades of Cuckoo Wasps make these little jewels easy to spot despite their small stature.
Cuckoo Wasps get their name thanks to their parenting strategy. Similar to the Cuckoo bird, Cuckoo Wasps lay their eggs in the nests of other bees. When a Cuckoo Wasp larva hatches, it eats the other bee larvae and then consumes the stores of food left in the nest. Because of this behavior, the Cuckoo Wasp is a parasite to a variety of other bee and wasp species. Even the eggs of Walkingsticks are not off limits.
The adult Cuckoo Wasp may be an emerald, gold, or garnet color, and has black eyes, wings, and legs. It is tiny compared to other bees, but its dimpled, shimmering body is bright enough to attract attention. Adults drink flower nectar and have very small stingers. They tend to curl up when threatened if they are unable to escape. They are active during the summer and can be found in a wide variety of habitats and natural areas, but are often seen visiting flowers.