Green metallic cuckoo wasp

This little metallic cuckoo wasp (Chrysididae) was working the camas today at Finley National Wildlife Refuge in Corvallis, Oregon. I struggled for an hour to get her photo, but this was the best I could do. She had a friend that glittered iridescent blue, but I didn’t get a single shot of her. I decided photographing insects is like fishing. You can spend hours by yourself and come home with nothing, but at least you can tell magnificent tales about the one that got away.

Green-metallic-sweat-bee
Green metallic cuckoo wasp. Photo by Rusty Burlew.
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Green metallic cuckoo wasp. Photo by Rusty Burlew.

Comments

Robert
Reply

My two favorite colors, purple and green. It is a lovely picture. Thanks for sharing.
My cherry laurels are starting to bloom. Hopefully I will see some native bees soon.

Nancy
Reply

My total sympathy, Rusty! These little jewels love Summer Squash and my dream is to capture one inside that well of saffron light. Hasn’t happened yet, may never, but it’s worth trying. We have this kind, another in metallic apple-green, the blue ones, and a green with ivory and black striped abdomen that might have been made by Faberge. Thanks for sharing that hour of patience with us!
Nan

hgo
Reply

Sorry but this is a cuckoo wasp, not a halictid bee.

Rusty
Reply

Thanks for this and the subsequent information you sent me. The error has been corrected.

Lindy Lou
Reply

Hi Rusty, is it possible that the cuckoo wasp could almost destroy the inhabitants of a beehive. Yesterday 11 July, I opened a hive expecting to see very full situation. Instead very many halves of bees. Middle parts gone. Could the Ignata Cuckoo Wasp do such a thing.? I saw one of them with wonderful azure blue thorax and bright pink abdomen in May on top of the hive that is now suffering such losses.

Rusty
Reply

Lindy Lou,

From what I’ve read, cuckoo wasps are mainly a problem in solitary bee nests where they lay their eggs. When the larvae hatch, the wasp larvae consume the bee larvae. I see cuckoo wasps hanging around my native bee housing all the time; they go from hole to hole just checking things out. Sometimes they dart in, and I’m sure they are using the opportunity to lay an egg, or at least attempt to.

I haven’t read anything specifically about honey bee parasitism by cuckoo wasps, although I know there are many types of cuckoo wasps in the Netherlands (very beautiful ones), so it wouldn’t surprise me to find some attack honey bee larvae. Still, it would probably take a lot of wasps to destroy a honey bee colony because solitary wasps, like solitary bees, don’t lay many eggs in a season compared to honey bees. I would be interested in learning more, if you find a source.

By the way, as far as I know, the larvae eat the larvae. I haven’t heard of cuckoo wasps attacking an adult bee, so that is also something to consider. Some of the larger wasps like yellowjackets and hornets attack adult bees, so I’m sure there are plenty of others.

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