Currently viewing the category: "Cuckoo Wasps"

Subject:  Trying to identify what this bug is
Geographic location of the bug:  Tennesse, Knoxville
Date: 10/24/2021
Time: 06:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can someone pls tell me what this bug is, I’m low key a little scared.
How you want your letter signed:  Nick Cooper

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Nick,
Fear not this beautiful metallic Cuckoo Wasp.  They do not sting.  Cuckoo Wasps are often found dead indoors near window sills.  They get trapped indoors accidentally and eventually die while being attracted to the view outdoors.

Subject:  Shiny Blue/Green fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Raleigh, NC
Date: 09/30/2019
Time: 05:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this shiny bug on my neighbors fence and was curious about what it was because I had never seen one around here. The season is fall but it is still pretty hot and humid and I saw the bug in the late afternoon when it was just about to get dark.   Thanks in advance.
How you want your letter signed:  ADG

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear ADG,
This is not a fly.  It is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  According to BugGuide:  “The name ‘cuckoo wasp’ refers to the fact that these wasps lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts.”

Subject:  Tiny bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Billings MT
Date: 08/14/2018
Time: 06:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Green head and abdomen, iridescent orange thorax, size of a small grain of rice.  I was totally fascinated by this insect.  It was foraging on a sunflower leaf.  As it was walking away, it’s thorax shone like a high beam orange light!  Unfortunately the glowing photo was a blurry but gives you an idea of the orange glow I was seeing.
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa Gerard

Cuckoo Wasp: Pseudomalus auratus

Dear Lisa,
What a beautiful little gem you have discovered, but it is a Cuckoo Wasp, not a Bee.  Thanks to this and other images on BugGuide, we identified your Cuckoo Wasp as
Pseudomalus auratus.  According to BugGuide:  “native to, and widespread in the Palaearctic, introduced in NA (e. US, UT, CA…)” and “‘The wasp oviposits inside the aphids but it gets more complicated. The aphid with a chrysidid egg inside must be captured by crabronid wasp and taken to its nest. Some crabronids hunt aphids for food provision to their offspring. Later, inside crabronid wasp’s nest the chrysidid egg will hatch, kill crabronid larva and consume the food provision (aphids). This is how chrysidid gets her egg inside the crabronid wasp nest without risking entering to the nest herself.’ (Villu Soon, 11.vii.2017).”  It is also pictured on Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society and on Bug Eric,where it states:  “Larvae of this wasp are kleptoparasites in the nests of other solitary wasps, and solitary bees, that nest inside hollow twigs, pre-existing cavities in wood, and similar situations.  Known hosts include the smaller wasps in the family Crabrionidae, and bees in the genera Ceratina (small carpenter bees, family Apidae), Hylaeus (masked bees, family Colletidae), and Anthidium (wool-carder or cotton bees, family Megachilidae).  The cuckoo wasp grub feeds on the provisions stored by the mother of the host larva.  They literally steal the meal provided by the host for its offspring.”

Cuckoo Wasp: Pseudomalus auratus

Subject:  Purple, Blue, Green Bug!!!
Geographic location of the bug:  Millsboro, Delaware
Date: 06/09/2018
Time: 12:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was outside today and saw this bug on the brick around my garage door. It was not really bothered by me being close or putting the phone closer to it for the pictures. I think it looks like a wasp but want to know for sure.
How you want your letter signed:  Stephen

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Stephen,
You are correct that this is a Wasp, more specifically, a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  Though members of this family are true Wasps, they are incapable of stinging.  The stinger of wasps and bees is actually a modified ovipositor that has evolved into a stinger so that female wasps can sting and paralyze prey to feed young, and it can also be used for defense purposes, especially in social insects like Honey Bees and Hornets.  The ovipositor of the Cuckoo Wasps has not evolved into a stinger because the female does not need to provide food for her brood in the traditional way, nor does she defend a nest.  Instead, she parasitizes the nest of another wasp to provide for her young and they either feed directly on the larvae of anther species or they feed on the food provided for the larvae of the other species, a habit known as cleptoparasitism. 

Thank you so much! I know your time is valuable and busy! Is there any concern having them on the house ect? I just moved here and never seen anything like it. Extremely beautiful though.

No.  Cuckoo Wasps pose no threat to you, your pets nor your home.

Thanks again Daniel! I love the service you all provide! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Subject:  Iridescent wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Delmont, Pennsylvania
Date: 05/12/2018
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This spectacular wasp was found dead on my car seat.
It is just about a half inch long, living, I estimate.
How you want your letter signed:  Albert in Western PA

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Albert,
This little beauty 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.”  They are harmless and cannot sting.

Cuckoo Wasp

Thank you very much!
It’s really stunning. It must have overheated inside the car.

Subject:  Blue colored bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Holly, MI
Date: 09/10/2017
Time: 09:44 PM EDT
I found this little guy between the glass and screen on my front storm door. My first thought was a bee, till I noticed it was a beautiful blue. Can you tell me what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Patti

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Patti,
This is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  According to BugGuide:  “The name ‘cuckoo wasp’ refers to the fact that these wasps lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts.”  BugGuide also states:  “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” and “Some species are parasitoids and others cleptoparasites. Either way the host larva dies.”  Though the female Cuckoo Wasp often has a very pronounced ovipositor, Cuckoo Wasps are incapable of stinging.