Currently viewing the category: "Cuckoo Wasps"
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Subject: Shiny metallic blue-green bee
Location: Connecticut
September 3, 2013 8:58 pm
Hello,
I found this insect on my window screen. I captured it in a bottle so I could look at it more closely without it flying off, and after a few minutes it seemed to calm down and stay seated in the cap of the bottle. Even after I took the cap off, it did not react for a minute or so, after which it began to clean its antennae and buzz its wings a few times (without flying off). It looks like some sort of Halictid, but I could be mistaken. What do you think? Thanks!
Signature: Denny P

Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo Wasp

Hi Denny,
This lovely creature is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  According to BugGuide:  “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites “steal” the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”

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Subject: small green and purple wasp?
Location: Wolverhampton UK
July 21, 2013 3:38 am
Saw this bug that appeared to be a wasp in the bus stop by my house in Wolverhampton UK. Never seen anything like it before so was interested. It was under an inch long very metallic colours with a bold almost turquoise green abdomen and purple rump. Any ideas
Signature: Adam

Ruby Tailed Wasp or other???

Ruby Tailed Wasp or other???

Dear Adam,
We thought this was going to be easy, but now we are not certain.  Last year we posted a photo of what we identified as a Ruby Tailed Wasp,
Hedychridium roseum, a species of Cuckoo Wasp.  Today, we tried to verify that and we found the BWars page which describes the wasp as being:  “Hedychridium roseum can be diagnosed by the dull, as opposed to shining, abdomen – unique to this species amongst British Hedychridium.”  It is difficult to discern if the abdomen on your specimen is dull or shining, but our previous post appears to be shining.  That brings us to another possibility, Chrysis fulgida, which we discovered on The Guardian and then verified on BWars and BioLib.  To further complicate matters, BWars has other similarly colored species, including Pseudospinolia neglecta, yet another UK Cuckoo Wasp pictured on BWars.  So, this is a Cuckoo Wasp, with a general name of Ruby Tailed Wasp, but we are not certain of the genus nor species.

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Subject: Metallic green with a huge stiner. What is it?
Location: Boise, Idaho
June 30, 2013 9:43 pm
We have found 8 of these so far living in our bedroom. So far only 2 have been alive and the rest have been dead. Being allergic to bee’s and not knowing what these are the two living ones met their maker as well. They are just about impossible to squish it seems and crunch over and over. During this I noticed their stinger is long as can be and was twitching like crazy in and out.
What is this thing and any idea why they are invading our bedroom, or more specific most of them we found are right near out window that has been closed up and what we thought sealed.
If needed I did keep the body of one of the victim and can take some more pictures.
Signature: Tracy

Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Tracy,
This is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  According to BugGuide:  “Some species are parasitoids and others cleptoparasites. Either way the host larva dies.”  BugGuide elaborates on those term:  “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”
  If you have sash windows, you might want to look for the remains of a nest of Leafcutter Bees which often nest in the grooves of sash windows.  Perhaps the nest of the Leafcutter Bee was parasitized by a female Cuckoo Wasp and her progeny emerged.  Since you are so concerned about being stung, you should take note of this information also provided by BugGuide:  “The female sting has been modified into an egg-laying tube with highly reduced valvulae and poison gland. As a result, unlike most other aculeates, chrysidids cannot sting and can be easily handled.”  Most insects found in the home would much rather be outdoors, and the best way to remove them is with a glass and postcard.  First trap the insect in the glass and then slide the postcard underneath the glass and move outside to release.

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Subject: Blue Fly
Location: Southwest, Florida,
November 15, 2012 11:25 am
I have no idea what kind of fly this is I have searched everywhere and cannot find a picture of this..this picture was taken in southwest Florida, November 15th..
Signature: David

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear David,
This magnificent creature is not a fly, but rather a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  The common name originates from the reproductive behavior
female who rather than building her own nest, parasitizes the nest of another wasp.  According to BugGuide: “Some species are parasitoids and others cleptoparasites. Either way the host larva dies. …  Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites “steal” the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”

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Subject: Beautiful bee or a blue tail fly?
Location: Auburn, NJ
August 23, 2012 9:25 am
This regal creature somehow managed to find it’s way into my kitchen, where I discovered it hanging on a coffee mug the other morning. I got the camera and managed one clear focused shot before I gave her a lift outside. In sunlight the tail end appeared almost a translucent green, which I’m sorry I can’t show.
I’ve been scanning here and at bug guide, but can’t even determine if I’m looking at a bee or a wasp or a fly? The antennae and eye shape suggest one thing, the body size another. Any clue you could offer? I don’t recall ever seeing another like it.
Thanks!
Signature: Creek Keeper

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Creek Keeper,
This jewel-like creature is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  The females lay eggs in the nests of other hosts in the order Hymenoptera to which they also belong.  We suspect that each species of Cuckoo Wasp is very specific as to its host, though we are not sure if it is limited to species, genus or family.  We also have problems differentiating one Cuckoo Wasp from another at the species level, though they are quite distinctive as a family.  According to
BugGuide:  “Most species are external parasites of wasp and bee larvae; one subfamily (Cleptinae, one genus, Cleptes) attacks sawfly larvae, another subfamily (Amiseginae) the eggs of walkingsticks.”  BugGuide further clarifies:  “Some species are parasitoids and others cleptoparasites. Either way the host larva dies” and then further clarifies “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”

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Subject: Beetle with metallic pink abdomen, green head
Location: Minsmere, Suffolk, UK
August 11, 2012 5:40 pm
I wonder if you can help here. The beetle was small and fast and the photo is poor, but I can’t find any pink and green beetles like it. Seen 11 Aug 2012, RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk, UK … sunny afternoon on a tank trap block (concrete) between beach and marsh. I took the photo.
Signature: CGill

Ruby Tail Wasp

Dear CGill,
This is not a beetle, but rather a Hymenopteran, the insect order that contains bees, ants and wasps.  After some careful internet research, we found an insect with this particular color pattern on the Heathland Solitary Wasps website, and it is called the Ruby Tail Wasp,
Hedychridium roseum.  The Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) website has a map an Suffolk is included in the limited UK range of the Ruby Tail Wasp.  We learned on Chrysis.net that the Ruby Tail Wasp is classified as a Cuckoo Wasp, meaning that instead of providing for its own young, the female Ruby Tail Wasp lays an egg in the nest of another Hymenopteran and the developing larva eats the food that was collected for the host species larva.

Thank you, Daniel, so much for all this extremely interesting and helpful information. I’m only sorry the photo was so poor … it was a rush to get a pic. at all as the creature was scuttling towards a dark crevice in the concrete clock at break neck speed!
Caroline

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination