Cuckoo Wasp Sting – What To Do? Helpful Tips

Cuckoo wasps are enchantingly beautiful, but beware – the larger ones of this species might be able to sting. Here’s a primer on a Cuckoo wasp sting and what to do about it.

Cuckoo wasps can sting humans, but there is often nothing to worry about unless you are allergic to insect bites.

You can wash the affected area with cold water or put an ice pack on it. However, in case of severe allergies, it is advisable to seek medical care.

If you are looking for more information on what happens if a cuckoo wasp stings you and what to do about it, continue reading.

What Are Cuckoo Wasps?

Cuckoo wasps are tiny but fast-moving wasps that shimmer in beautiful metallic colors.

These parasitic wasps are usually found during summer, looking for a host to lay eggs and drink nectar.

Cuckoo Wasps are solitary wasps; they don’t build colonies or large nests with other wasps.

Worldwide there are more than 3,000 species of these bugs, of which more than 200 species are found in North America, especially in California.

What Do They Look Like?

Cuckoo Wasps have black eyes, legs, and wings. Their bodies glow in bright and metallic blue, green, or purple colors.

For this reason, they are also known as emerald wasps, jewel wasps, or gold wasps.

The metallic sheen of their bodies is still a mystery to scientists, but one reason could be that it helps them attract other insects so that they can lay their eggs on them.

Can Cuckoo Wasps Sting?

Female cuckoo wasps have an ovipositor that extends out of their abdomen. It has evolved from a stinger. However, it does not have the capacity to sting anymore.

They use this ovipositor to infiltrate the mud nests of other wasps. The female uses her ovipositor first to vibrate and hence soften the mud wall and then lays her eggs into the nest.

This is an interesting activity, also known as brood parasitism. Cuckoo wasps share this activity with cuckoo birds, which is why they were given the name.

However, cuckoo wasps go one step further – their larvae feed off the food that the poor wasp has laid out for her own and then kill the host’s larvae and feed on them as well.

But, leaving that little detour aside, the above para answers the question – does a cuckoo wasp sting humans?

Since their ‘stinger’ is only used to insert their eggs and is non-functional otherwise, cuckoo wasps are not supposed to be able to sting humans.

However, some people have reportedly received painful stings from larger species of these wasps.

So, it is best to maintain a distance from cuckoo wasps if you spot one.

Symptoms of a Wasp Sting

Can a cuckoo wasp kill you with its bite? No. Are cuckoo wasps dangerous for you? Still no.

But are cuckoo wasps poisonous? That question is a bit more complicated. Their stinger has venom that transfers to human skin in case of a bite, and this venom can really cause pain!

The pain will subside in time unless you are allergic. We have discussed the symptoms of their bites in all scenarios below.

Normal Reaction

When a cuckoo wasp bites you, it punctures that area of the skin. The affected area develops a white welt which can cause swelling, pain, or redness.

These symptoms can last for a few hours and will go away naturally.

Severe Reaction

The term for a severe reaction caused due to wasp or bee sting is ‘large local reaction.’ It usually results in swelling, redness, and pain, which may last for two-three days.

In case of allergic reactions, it may lead to vomiting, dizziness, or nausea, and the swelling lasts for a week.

Even the large local reactions subside after a week, but in case of extreme discomfort, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

Most doctors suggest taking antihistamine medication, usually Benadryl, to avoid discomfort.

Anaphylaxis

If you have a severe allergic reaction to a wasp bite, you might go into a state of shock because of wasp venom. This will cause anaphylaxis. The main symptoms of this allergic reaction include

  • Swelling on the face, lips, throat, etc
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Hives or itching in body areas where you aren’t even stung
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness

The stung person doesn’t need to exhibit all of the above symptoms; most people will only show a few of the signs.

So, if you or someone you know shows the above symptoms after a wasp bite, seek medical emergency immediately.

If you already know about your condition, it is advisable to always carry wasp sting or bee sting kits with you.

These kits contain epinephrine injections that help control or stabilize blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.

What To Do if You Get a Sting?

You may need immediate medical care if you are severely allergic to wasps or insect bites. We have discussed all the wasp bite dos in this section.

Normal Reactions

Most wasp bites heal naturally within a few hours, even if you don’t do anything.

If you want to get rid of the swelling or pain quickly and avoid potential reactions, here’s what you can do.

  • Wash the affected area with water and soap
  • Remove as much venom as possible
  • Apply an ice pack to the area to remove swelling and pain
  • Use a soft and dry towel to clean the wound
  • Use a bandage to cover it

In case of itching or irritation, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. Use baking soda or colloidal oatmeal during baths.

You can also take pain relievers (ibuprofen) and Antihistamine drugs (diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine) to quickly eliminate swelling, pain, and other symptoms.

If the symptoms don’t go away after 3-4 days of the sting, consider getting a tetanus shot.

Cuckoo Wasp Sting - What To Do? Helpful Tips

Vinegar

Soak a cotton ball in apple cider or white vinegar and press it on the stung area for several minutes. Vinegar’s acidity neutralizes the sting’s alkalinity and lessens pain and inflammation.

Severe Reactions

Do you know that up to three percent of adults and 0.8 percent of children exhibit severe reactions after a wasp bite?

If someone loses consciousness or goes into shock after a wasp or bee bite, they require immediate medical attention.

Some medical treatments for severe reactions to a wasp bite would include:

  • Epinephrine to stabilize blood pressure and heart rate
  • In case the person is not breathing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is needed
  • Steroids, oxygen, and other medication to improve respiration

If you already know about your severe reaction to a wasp bite, it is best to avoid the areas where you can find these insects.

Additionally, you should carry a bee or wasp kit with you at all times.

If you see someone struggling due to a wasp bite, it is best to call 911 and stay with them until medical help comes.

Try giving them CPR in case they are unconscious and not breathing. If they have a bee kit, immediately inject them with it and wait for their immune system to calm down.

Cuckoo Wasp Defense Mechanisms

Cuckoo wasps live a rather perilous life, as we mentioned earlier. After all, invading the nests of other wasps to plant your own larvae is fraught with risk.

The biggest challenge in the life of a female cuckoo wasp is to insert her eggs inside the home of potential hosts without getting seen.

These hosts are usually other ground-nesting wasps who are capable of killing the mother cuckoo wasp with their deadly stingers.

Thus, cuckoo wasps use their bodies as armor to protect themselves from a potential attack. It curls its antenna and legs and lets its hard exoskeleton protect its body.

The defense is so effective that even the strongest of jaws or stingers cannot penetrate it, and the host has no choice but to pick up the infiltrator and throw her outside their nest.

The cuckoo wasp will then get up, dust herself off, fly back to her nest, and await another suitable time to attack.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cuckoo wasp harmful?

Cuckoo wasps are harmless to humans but may sometimes leave painful stings. Even though their stingers have evolved into ovipositors, some of the larger species can still leave a bite.
The sting may last for a few hours unless the person is allergic to insect bites, in which case, medical help is needed.

Do cuckoo wasps have a stinger?

Female cuckoo wasps have an ovipositor to insert eggs in the host larva’s nest. They don’t have a stinger anymore.
When the wasp larvae come out of their eggs, they eat up the host larvae along with their food supply or wait for the host to eat the food and then consume them.

Are cuckoo wasps rare?

Cuckoo wasps are not rare. There are more than 3,000 species of these wasps worldwide, and more than 200 of them can be found in America and Canada alone.
However, some species of cuckoo wasps, such as Chrysidea falsa, are rare.

Are cuckoo bees poisonous?

Cuckoo bees are not poisonous to humans, but some may leave a painful sting.
Unless you are allergic to bee bites, a cuckoo bee’s sting is non-threatening and heals within a few hours. Cuckoo bee larva, however, ends up killing the larvae of its hosts.

Wrap Up

We hope this article helped you learn all about what to do when a cuckoo wasp stings you. These metallic-colored wasps are as deadly as they are beautiful, but only to their hosts.

While some cuckoo wasps might be able to sting, the pain would usually subside in a matter of a few hours. If you are allergic to wasp stings, please make sure to carry a wasp sting kit with you at all times. Thank you for reading.

Reader Emails

The shimmering, metallic appearance of this beguilingly beautiful wasp has caused many of our readers to inquire with us what manner of creatures they are.

Go through some of the letters and pictures of these beautiful creatures to understand why they are such an enigma.

Letter 1 – Cuckoo Wasp

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.”

Letter 2 – Cuckoo Wasp

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.

Letter 3 – Cuckoo Wasp

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.”

Letter 4 – Cuckoo Wasp

Subject: metallic blue bug
Location: mandeville louisiana
May 26, 2014 10:16 am
hi i was at an old abondoned metal shack taking pictures and i found this wierd looking bug and my friends and family are arguing about what kind of bug it is.. please help?
Signature: -madalyn bilac

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Hi Madalyn,
This is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae, and you can find a matching image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “The name ‘cuckoo wasp’ refers to the fact that these wasps lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts” and “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.” 

Letter 5 – Cuckoo Wasp

Subject: Blue/Green Wasp?
Location: Nicholasville, KY
August 5, 2014 10:11 am
Found this little beauty in our warehouse. It has a blue-green iridescent exoskeleton and flies really quickly, but not much range. I was able to catch it without much damage. As you can see, it has a wicked stinger/proboscus with an alarming extension for its size! I got a couple of close-up images while holding it with tweezers. Any ideas on identification?
Signature: ISS

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear ISS,
This lovely wasp is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae, and despite its fearsome looking stinger, it is not an aggressive species and it is not known to sting humans.  According to 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.”

Letter 6 – Cuckoo Wasp

Subject: Shiny green fly/bee?
Location: China Spring, Texas
August 14, 2014 2:05 am
I have only seen this bug twice in 3 years, both times in the summer. Its antenna move very fast, and I found out they are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Not very good pics I know, just tell me what else you need from me to identify? He’s not aggressive at all and is actually very beautiful up front.
Signature: WeirdKitty

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear WeirdKitty,
This is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae, and the common name arises, according to BugGuide, because of:  “the fact that these wasps lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts.”  Cuckoo Wasps are harmless to humans as they cannot sting.

Oh thank you very much!!
That’s pretty interesting, I will definitly be doing more research. Thank you!

Letter 7 – Cuckoo Wasp

Subject: Metallic Blue Bee?
Location: Northeast FL
August 29, 2014 9:47 am
I saw this bee (?) in my yard here in northeast FL. It was a striking metallic blue, with some green especially on the underside of the abdomen. Size was about 1 1/2 to 2 cm. I thought it might be a sweat bee that was more blue than the green I usually see. But it looks like the bee might be eating something, maybe a smaller insect, which would make it something besides a sweat bee. Whatever it is, it was a beautiful blue color.
Signature: Karen in FL

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Karen,
This beautiful Hymenopteran is not a bee, but rather a wasp, a Cuckoo Wasp to be exact.  Cuckoo Wasps in the family Chrysididae lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts, other Hymenopterans.

Letter 8 – Cuckoo Wasp

Subject: Mystery fly
Location: Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center, Everglades, FL
October 2, 2015 11:59 am
Hello there! I am an insect person who loves insects and is hoping to maybe become an entomologist one day. I have many insect pictures which I am trying to identify. I also have a collection of insects I find every now and then dead on the ground. (I don’t kill bugs for my collection, I only take them if they are dead). I do however have many I cannot identify. I have tried my 5 insect guides, google search, many bug identification guides online, and google image search but have came up empty handed. One of which I have failed to identify is this blue fly I found in the everglades. It was taken with a Sony-cyber shot camera. So I was wondering if you could help identify this insect. Thank you!
Signature: Cicada lover

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Cicada Lover,
This gorgeous creature is not a fly.  It is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae and probably in the Subfamily Chrysidinae which is pictured on BugGuide.  We are very fascinated with your “dead insect” collection philosophy.

Letter 9 – Cuckoo Wasp

Subject: Blue Bee??
Location: Pleasant Hills, Pa 15236
August 25, 2016 6:31 am
Hello,
I found what looks like a blue bee in my house this morning (August 25, 2016). It was, thankfully, dead (stalked and killed by my cat). I have never seen anything like it and my dad suggested you may be able to identify it.
Signature: Thank you, Rachel

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Rachel,
This is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae and according to 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.”

Letter 10 – Cuckoo Wasp killed in Egypt

Subject: Blue /green wasp
Location: Egypt, cairo
August 5, 2017 4:36 pm
Actually, I’ve found that bug flying inside house I just thought that it’s poison then I killed it and took a simple picture, excuse me if it’s little cloudy 🙂
I appreciate ur answer
Signature: A lee

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear A lee,
Cuckoo Wasps from other parts of the world look surprisingly similar to your individual.  According to BugGuide:  “The name ‘cuckoo wasp’ refers to the fact that these wasps lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts” and “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.
”  There was no need to kill this individual since it is perfectly harmless, so we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage and we hope future encounters will not end with a corpse. 

Actually people die every were like animals and insects in the other half of the world u’re living and dying in the same time get out of there and just turn on the news people in the middle east innocent people dies every second, wt u gonna say about that a reasonable Action every harmless being should be a life and every harmful being should pay it!! Killing animals or any being is a horrible action some times not intentionally, wt about human being unnecessary carnage? Or a massacre?!! Manup

We are an insect identification site.  Human massacre is beyond the scope of what we cover on our site.  It has always been our mission to educate the web browsing public to appreciate the wonder and beauty of the lower beasts, and we firmly believe that is a good way to appreciate the interconnectivity of all life on our fragile planet.  While we are powerless to change the world, we hope that by encouraging tolerance of the lower beasts, we are having a positive impact.

Letter 11 – Cuckoo Wasp

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.

Letter 12 – Cuckoo Wasp

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.

Letter 13 – Cuckoo Wasp

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!

Letter 1 – Cuckoo Wasp or Not

 

Blue Wasp
Hello bugman, I took a pic of a blue wasp that was stuck in the window. Do you know what it is? I am from Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada.
Thanks
Kathy

Hi Kathy,
You have a beautiful Cuckoo Wasp, Family Chrysididae. These small wasps are usually metallic blue or green in color. They get their common name because, like the Cuckoo bird, the wasp is parasitic. According to Hogue “it lays its eggs in the nests of bees and other wasps. The larva kills the rightful occupant of the nest and develops on the provisions left in the cell by the nestbuilder.”

Update (07/29/2007) Believe you have a misidentification on a previous i.d.
Daniel: In looking for pictures of a cuckoo wasp (for which I have a nice pic I could send although you already have several), one of your identifications looks misidentified. If you look at the the pictures from Timothy and Tarik — which I believe you have identified correctly — you’ll see a generally rough looking ‘back’, and the thorax sections are not sharply separated. Also, the legs are skinny, the antennae are short, and the center of the abdomen is more bulbous than the rest. In contrast, if you look at the photo from Kathy, the back is smooth, the thorax is sharply segmented, the ‘thigh’ of the front leg is ‘muscular’ looking, the antennae are quite long, and the abdomen is fairly similar in thickness throughout its length. Not to mention that the overall color is more brilliantly blue, less green than the other photos. A check of other images on the internet shows a much closer resemblance to the blue wasp, “Aporus hirsutus”. The best example of this is found at: http://bugguide.net/node/view /31105/bgimage In particular, note the beefy upper front leg, long antennae, and other consistencies with Kathy’s image.
Oops! While I believe you still have a misidentification, another glance at the Blue Wasp photos show that this is not the correct i.d., either. I just noticed that there are two smaller photos below the larger one on the bugguide.net page, and the rear legs are cricket-like, which is clearly not the case in Kathy’s photo. I am now thinking that it at the least looks more like “Augochlorella striata” than something in the Chrysididae family. See: http://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu /insects/newslides/025066011001 apo.jpg But the smoother, more segmented back in Kathy’s photo doesn’t agree, along with the bluer color. So, I don’t think that it is any of the bugs you or I mentioned, and thus remains unidentified. Curious to hear your opinion.
Mark

Letter 2 – Cuckoo Wasp

 

Cuckoo wasp?
Hi – found this bug on our tent while camping in south-central Wisconsin. I searched your site and think this might be a Cuckoo wasp? Just wondered if it is and if not, what is it? Sure is beautiful. As always – I love your site and visit it often. I have a link to it on my own blog and always tell my friends about it – fantastic resource. Thanks!
Ann Graf

Hi Ann,
This is a marvelous image of a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.

Letter 3 – Cuckoo Wasp

 


Great website for all!
Here is a bee-like animal that I discovered in two different areas of central Florida. One is at the Wekiva River Basin State Parks in Apopka Florida, and the other is at my house in Ocala Florida. In both situations the animals were using and very interested in small openings about the size of the animal. At the park, there were as many as 25-50 individuals swarming in and out of these openings (I am not sure of whether they created them or another animal, but they were certainly not rotted wood openings and were made by an organism. At my house, there was only this single individual seen, and it was trying to use an opening into our cement block house which I had made previously with a screw. It was actually in some sort of conflict with another wasp-like animal to use the small opening when I discovered it. Anyway here is a photo of that animal at my house. The small opening is seen in the background. Any idea of the species?
Thanks, Rick
Rick Owen, Park Biologist
Wekiva River Basin State Parks
Apopka, Fl

Hi Rick,
The wasp in your photo is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae. Species are nearly impossible to distinguish from one another. They lay their eggs in the nests of host insects, usually wasps and bees. The social behavior you describe does not seem consistant, but perhaps a swarm of Cuckoo Wasps were attacking a colony of other insects, or perhaps you witnessed a hatching of a brood.

Letter 4 – Cuckoo Wasp

 

What kind of bee is this?
This picture was tooken in Russell Springs, Kentucky at our family cabin. And no one had seen this kind of bee there before, What kind is it? can someone tell us?
Thank you
Tina M. Huckaby

Hi Tina,
We contacted Eric Eaton who wrote back that this metallic wasp: “is actually a cuckoo wasp (Chrysididae), probably in the genus Chrysis. They do not sting, and in fact roll up in a ball as a defense if they are molested.”

Letter 5 – Cuckoo Wasp from Australia

 

Cuckoo Wasp?
Dear Bugman,
I think I have a Cuckoo Wasp in my garden but I’m not sure. I’ve seen it on my flowering Sedum for the last few days. Collecting honey I guess along with many honey bees. I live in the southwest of Western Australia. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this bug…totally blown away by its amazing colours!
Julia Parkes

Hi Julia,
Thank you for sending in your beautiful image of a gorgeous Cuckoo Wasp. The Geocities website has some additional photos of Australian specimens.

Letter 6 – Cuckoo Wasp

 

Sorry to bother you, I found an interesting bug!
Ok, it’s interesting to me. I’m in Northern Virginia, and I found this shiny green guy on the windowsill of my son’s room. I searched your site, but couldn’t find anyone like him, I’m sure it’s just a lack of looking in the right place. Anyhow, here are some pictures. Please be assured that we had nothing to do with its demise, I only observe, and I release anyone who gets trapped, but sometimes I don’t find them in time. 🙁 You can see by the other pictures on my house critters page that I don’t harm anything, I appreciate the symbiosis. I didn’t put anything in the pictures for a scale reference, I realize now, but curled up like it is, it’s about the same size as my pinky nail, fairly small. Anyhow, many thanks if you have the time to let me know what it is!
bri..

Hi Bri,
This pretty little creature is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae. We have several photos on our wasp pages. In this rigor mortis pose, it rather reminds us of the Mickey’s Malt Liquor mascot.

Letter 7 – Cuckoo Wasp

 

Can you tell me what this is?
Location: Australia, NSW, Western Sydney area.
February 5, 2011 11:22 pm
Hi bugman, I found this bug in my laundry about 2 weeks ago. I put it into a bug-catcher to get it out of my laundry and so that I could let my son have a good look at it and then I was going to let it go. It was dead when I got up the next morning and looked like this (see photos). It is summer here at the moment and been particularly warm between 36-40 degrees centigrade/celcius. I hope you can help. I thank you in advance 🙂
Signature: Not sure what this means?

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Not sure what this means?
This sure appears to be a Cuckoo Wasp, possibly the Large Cuckoo Wasp,
Stilbum cyanurum, which we located on the Brisbane Insect website.  According to the Brisbane Insect website:  “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.”  Perhaps your individual rolled into a ball in self defense before it died.  Though it was not intentional on your part, keeping an insect in a confined container and then finding it dead might constitute Unnecessary Carnage.

Letter 8 – Cuckoo Wasp and Ambush Bug from Canada

 

2 interesting bugs
Location: Kitchener Ontario Canada
September 29, 2011 2:55 pm
Hi, Bugman
I have 2 bugs that I am curious about..
The first was found deceased on my windowsill, even so very pretty insect.
The 2nd Yellow bug I found today has the shape of an assassin bug almost from the top but I noticed mantis like hooked forelegs when viewed from the side.
Thanks
Signature: Martzart

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Martzart,
The beautiful metallic blue insect you found dead in your car is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  Your yellow insect is an Ambush Bugin the subfamily Phymatinae.  In the not too distant past, Ambush Bugs were classified in their own family, but recent taxonomy has reclassified them as a subfamily of the Assassin Bugs.

Ambush Bug

 

Letter 9 – Cuckoo Wasp from Portugal

 

Subject: Colourfull fly
Location: Portugal
May 16, 2015 11:37 pm
What kind of fly is this?
Never saw this one before….
Signature: Tineke

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Tineke,
This looks like a Cuckoo Wasp to us, but the red abdomen is something we do not see in North America.  It might be
 Hedychrum rutilans which is pictured on Shutterstock.  There is also some information on Chrysis.net.  Cuckoo Wasps can curl up for protection when disturbed or threatened as your image indicates.

Thank you very much Daniel for your quick respons…
Its a beautiful insect, it was dead when I found it and I keep it in a little box.
Best regards,
Tineke

Letter 10 – Cuckoo Wasp from Scotland

 

Subject: Fly or wasp
Location: NT22217222
July 27, 2015 11:48 am
Picture taken 25th June 2015.
Abdomen and thorax colouring of Chrysidid wasp, head of a fly?
Any help with ID would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
Signature: Stevie in Edinburgh

Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Stevie,
We believe the similarity to the head of a fly in your image is an illusion, and that your Cuckoo Wasp is
Chrysis ignita which is pictured on BWARS where it states the species is found:  “Throughout England,Wales, Scotland and Ireland but not found on the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Recorded from the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands.”

Letter 11 – Cuckoo Wasp: Pseudomalus auratus

 

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

Letter 12 – Cuckoo Wasp

 

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.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

7 thoughts on “Cuckoo Wasp Sting – What To Do? Helpful Tips”

  1. I’ve just found one of these in Scotland. It has the green head and torso and orange bottom. At first thought it may be a flying ant or odd shaped fly but the image on this site matches it exactly

    Reply
  2. I think I just also found one in our pool. Aren’t they native to the west coast- Should they be in CT? Is this bad for New England bees? Just wondering.

    Reply

Leave a Comment