Cuckoo Bee – Triepeolus

Cuckoo Bee – Triepeolus species

Cuckoo Bee - Triepeolus

Live adult Cuckoo Bee photographed at Newspaper Rock, Canyonlands Nat’l Park, Utah

The Insects of Cedar Creek classifies the Cuckoo Bees in the family Anthophoridae:
“Anthophorid Bees (920 NA spp) are most diverse in the western U.S. Three distinctive subfamilies are recognized: Nomadinae (Cuckoo Bees), Anthophorinae (Digger Bees), and Xylocopinae (Carpenter Bees). ”  Many entomologists take a different view, including Michener (2000), who notes that “recognition of Anthophoridae is no longer justified,” and includes its former members within Subfamily Apinae.

Cuckoo Bee - Triepeolus

Chasing this girl around in the American southwest desert is hard work. Please forgive the poor quality of these images!

Cuckoo Bees are parasites, in that the female cuckoo bee lays her eggs in the nest of other bees, primarily digger bees and Andrenids.  Cuckoos are also said to be kleptoparasites, stealing honey and pollen collected by others. Cuckoo bees lack any pollen-transporting apparatus (the scopa). Look for cuckoo bees flying low over the ground and foliage, hunting for foraging and nesting potential victims.

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