Subject: Potter/Mason wasp?
Location: South Florida
September 7, 2016 8:14 pm
Sept 7, 2016 in my backyard I noticed a black and white bee-sized critter nectaring on Spanish Needle flowers. I hadn’t seen its like before and while I think it’s something in the Potter/Mason wasp tribe I was unable to locate any images on the ‘net that matched it.
Signature: Curious in Florida
Dear Curious in Florida,
Based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe we have correctly identified your Modest Cuckoo Leaf-Cutter Bee, Coelioxys modesta. According to BugGuide, the range is: “Nebraska to Quebec and the New England states, south to Texas and Florida.” According to Nature Search: “This cleptoparasitic bee is approximately 3/8” in length. The head is large and black with black eyes. The thorax is black with light gray and black colored fuzz. The abdomen is black with thin white bands. Females have a pointed abdomen and males have tooth-like projections at the tip of the cone-shaped abdomen” and “This species is cleptoparasitic on other bees in this family. The female uses her pointed abdomen to break into Megachile nests. She removes the host egg and lays her egg in the nest. The larva kills the occupant and then eats the pollen and nectar stores intended for the offspring of its host. The female lacks the pollen brush under the abdomen typical of other bees in this family.”
Thank you! I had dismissed it as a bee because it was not gathering pollen and because the wings seemed wasplike. Live and learn. :^) I appreciate your generous sharing of information on all the unappreciated creeping, crawling and flying critters of the world.