Metallic bee or wasp
Location: Northeast Louisiana
June 20, 2011 10:54 pm
Bugman, In 2010 I was stung by a stunningly beautiful bee or wasp. In reflex I knocked it off my arm. Naturally it was stunned. I was able to capture it and used a lasso technique to photograph it; afterwards I let it go out into the wild blue yonder. It reminded me of a sweatbee, but larger, more the size of a honeybee. Outer shell very hard and glassy. Brilliant metallic peacock blue with translucent black wings. Antennae did not curl like you see in some species. It’s definitely not a cricket killer, orchard bee. I’ve compared every detail. I think it’s too big to be some sort of sweat bee. Hope you can identify it.
Signature: BugBunny

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear BugBunny,
This colorful creature is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  We are very intrigued with your lasso technique for photography.  It appears that dental floss or thread was used to keep the Cuckoo Wasp from flying away before the photo session was complete.  Cuckoo Wasps, according to BugGuide, as “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.”  BugGuide also notes:  “According to Kimsey (2)
: ‘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 they can be easily handled whether male or female’.”  That information contradicts your personal experience that you were stung. Perhaps you were really bitten as it appears that Cuckoo Wasps have well developed mandibles.

Cuckoo Wasp

Daniel, I had already found the photos on BugGuide of the Cuckoo Wasp, when I was holding my wasp in my hand.  I was able to compare them carefully, and I didn’t believe it to be the same wasp.  My wasp was bluer in tone and did not have the hair or pitted (bubblely?) shell that the Cuckoo photos seem to show.  Mine was extremely slick or glassy feeling.  The body wasn’t as thick looking as the Cuckoo (more streamlined).  As for the sting, maybe it was a “pinch”, because it certainly didn’t hurt or throb afterwards, but it looked liked it had a stinger and I noticed it because of the pain (minor) on my arm.  The lasso was made with jeweler’s wire, which is thin as thread and pliable.  It was fairly easy to wrap around his body and then unwrap.  This must be a huge family of wasps, in all my searching of images on the internet, I haven’t found one that looked like mine.  It is a beautiful creature though, it seemed to me to be a fantasy model of a transformer wasp.

Since we have no entomologists on staff, we may be wrong.

Location: Louisiana

62 Responses to Cuckoo Wasp

  1. Erik says:

    I found one exactly like the one in this picture, just now. No hd camera to use for photo, but is identical to it and is as he said blue and slick, no hair. I’m in East Texas, Nacogdoches. Never before have I seen one of these before. But I must say it has one heck of a stinger, and yes it hurt really bad when it stung me. Still hurts. Call me weeny it’s okay.

  2. Andrea says:

    I live in central Alabama and have seen these shiny blue creatures near my kitchen or sink several times. Recently looked for them on the Internet and was surprised that that they were flies, not wasps (guess I deserved that D made in college entomology!)

  3. Nathan Fath says:

    found one dead in my window in Minnesota

  4. Harry says:

    Gainesville , FL: I just found one on my bedroom windows frame, it called my attention his strange noise (sounded like when you rip apart a paper bag)

  5. Ryan says:

    I saw one in my house 🙁
    Washington state, USA

  6. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m from Louisiana and have seen them thru the years and often wondered what they were. I sure did not know they were a type of wasp?

  7. Lynette Arias says:

    Just found one of these creatures flying around in my house. Metallic blue almost black and with black wings, very shiny and smooth. It was large like a wasp. We are in Stockton, CA.

  8. Michelle White says:

    Found one by stepping on it and thinking it was a bead, it was very hard. Tools picture of it but do t know how to upload to here! I’m in Northeast Ohio!!

  9. kara says:

    umm its it normal for these to be found in Australia?
    just had one in my house.

    • bugman says:

      According to the Brisbane Insect site: “The adult Cuckoo Wasp’s back is well armored and with abdomen concave beneath. When disturbed, it curl up into a ball. This is a defense behavior against the attack by angry nest host. Cuckoo Wasps are common in Brisbane suburban. They are usually seen flying slowly looking for wasp nest.”

  10. kara says:

    umm is it normal for these to be found in Australia?
    because I just had one in my house.
    metallic blue.

    • bugman says:

      According to the Brisbane Insect site: “The adult Cuckoo Wasp’s back is well armored and with abdomen concave beneath. When disturbed, it curl up into a ball. This is a defense behavior against the attack by angry nest host. Cuckoo Wasps are common in Brisbane suburban. They are usually seen flying slowly looking for wasp nest.”

  11. Lisa says:

    I just had one trting to land on my leg. And I’m in tasmania. I’ve never seen one before…???
    Are they venturing further now? Do we know why?

  12. Chastitie Kenyon says:

    I’m pretty sure I just shooed one off the inside, house, of my door screen. I didn’t get good look at, as I was more worried about possibility of my 6 yr old being bite or stung. But I’m pretty sure this is what it was and I am in Elk Creek California

  13. Vanessa says:

    I’m looking at one right now on my window ledge. I heard some hit the window and at first glance I thought it was a regular fly until I realized it was blue! I’m in Chicago btw

    • Mari says:

      I’m in Chicago too and just killed one. I had my newborn with me. Didn’t want to him to get stung. Until I read that they dont sting. But have to be safe with my lo.

  14. Alvin anderson says:

    I found one blue bug in west bank new Orleans, Louisiana 70114

  15. Lisa says:

    I found one today in my upstairs….. Western Washington

  16. Juia says:

    I know it’s being said that they don’t sting but I just had one in my bathroom. When we killed it you could see the stinger come out multiple times. The stinger was very thick!

  17. Sheri says:

    I just found one in my bathroom, man they are pretty! And tough! The Woodlands, TX

  18. Jan says:

    I had one of these amazing metallic blue wasps in my back yard in Chicago! It was about 2 inches or so long.

  19. Joy says:

    I’m getting one a day in my kitchen window. I put a dishcloth on top and then let it go outside. But then another one comes shortly afterwards. This has been going on for about 10 days. I can’t figure out where they’re coming in.

  20. Pour house says:

    Just found one in Charleston sc

  21. Rachel Hansen says:

    I live in southwest Kansas & I see one daily flying around my flowers. I am petrified of it so there’s no way I am gonna get a picture of. Actually, as I’m typing this I have just noticed an baby one. As the original poster states, it doesn’t have as round of a body. It’s much sleeker. I find it absolutely gorgeous but am terrified of it at the same time!

  22. Roger says:

    One zinged through my window fan the other day here… all the way up in Nova Scotia, Canada!

  23. Lolita Kirksey says:

    Found a dead one in my backyard in Wildomar (Southern California)

  24. Carol says:

    I just saw one in northwestern Connecticut. Never seen them here before. Beautiful but I still swatted it away.

  25. Monica says:

    Just found one dead in my house ;), San Jose (Northern California). Absolutely beautiful! If they can’t hurt us, I wish there were more of them. stunning color! I lived in California nearly all my life, and 10 yrs in Texas, this is the first time I’ve ever since this guy.

  26. Gugu says:

    I just sadly hit one and Google led me to this blog while trying to figure out what it is. Very beautiful color. I’m in Hlabisa, KZN South Africa

  27. Michelle says:

    I had one land on my deck a few days ago. It was a blue-turquoise in color. I thought it was a fly on a diet. It was identical to the second picture above.
    I’m up in North Eastern New Brunswick, Canada on the Bay of Chaleur.

  28. Josie says:

    I live in northern Pennsylvania and found one while folding my laundry. It was stuck to a towel I was folding. I’m not sure if it is a cuckoo wasp or a different bug.

  29. Rita says:

    My friend just had one in her house in ontario canada

  30. Sharon Goodwin-Koontz says:

    We just found 4 dead ones in our home. Not sure where they are coming from…but yes they are beautiful and wow what a stinger. Glad they don’t use it!! We are in Va. Beach Va.

  31. I just had a cuckoo wasp in my flowers on the porch. Beautiful creature. I’m in Sutherlin Oregon

  32. Hank says:

    I found one boring into a crack in one of our entrance way limestone pillars, as if to prepare a nest. He/she might have to relocate. I’m in Mansfield, TX.

  33. Iris D Quinones says:

    i just found one on my succulents plants, in Snellville, GA

  34. Long Haired Farmer says:

    Just saw a pair here , smelling the flowers and non-aggressive. What a beautiful blue!

    Tallahassee, Florida

    • Erin Brockett says:

      Quick question im from Michigain. St.clair county. & today i had ome in my home my cat tryed to eat it & kept jumping back like he got stung it landed on me i freaked & killed it. Do they live here? I have never seen one in my 33yrs.

  35. Heather says:

    Seeing them in southeastern CT this summer!!

  36. Jenn b says:

    Found one in my house today. In my sliding door… Never seen one before. CT.

  37. Johnny Pruett says:

    I just got one on the inside of my shorts i dont know if it was stinging me are biting i was on the sofa i got him out i never seen one before to day i live in shreveport la.

  38. Marion says:

    Just saw one of these (I think) flying in my back yard. It landed on the ground and crawled into a little crack in the hard, dry ground. At first I thought it might be some kind of flying ant, but it was huge compared to ants. I live in Tempe, Arizona.

  39. Christopher Davis says:

    Just found one at my work in Hummestown PA

  40. Mark says:

    Long-time thread, but never-the-less, if anyone is interested … I took this picture today and just looking to confirm it is also the Cuckoo Wasp.
    Taken in Hamilton, Ontario Canada (09/01/19)

  41. Pamela Renfroe says:

    I found one in my bathroom on the floor. Unfortunately, my cat loves to stalk out insects. I was immediately drawn to its beauty and was delighted to find your article in my research. I live in Northeast Georgia.

  42. Robin says:

    Found one just crawling across the floor in eastern Kentucky, just off the railroad tracks and the Ohio River.

  43. BARBARA CARTER says:

    I just found one crawling inside my blouse in Provo, Utah. I took a picture of it!

  44. BugGod340 says:

    I just found a simiar insect like this in my bathroom here in north ga! Its a stunning nean blue and green color with pitch black eyes and black wings. Its honestly the most spectacular insect ive seen in person next to the vevlet ant. One thing in prricular that stood out to me and seemed odd is the pinser like jaws it had. It almost looked more like an ant than a wasp

  45. Monica Quintero says:

    Had one exactly like the photo try to sting me today inside the bathroom at work. 🙁 I did kill it unfortunately when I hit it with my bag. It was very tiny smaller than my pinky nail and it had its stinger out. I examined it after it fell across the room on the floor. It was a very beautiful blue turquoise color and made a normal buzzing sound when it flew by my ear.

  46. Stevo says:

    Found a Cuckoo Wasp stuck in a puddle on my deck after a very heavy rain in Metro Detroit, MI. Brilliant colors with a stinger, was afraid it could have been a new exotic murder hornet or something../glad to see it isn’t as bad as I thought.

  47. Kenneth dobbs says:

    Just saw one shiny metallic hairless buzzing around for san Antonio

  48. J.R. says:

    I found a hornet like bug that fits this description. About 5/8″ long. A brilliant blue. It has a stinger small and red. Wings are long clear and more rectangle than rounded. In Munroe Falls. NE Ohio.

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