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Cuckoo Bees

Introduction Cuckoo Bees

Cuckoo bees, also known as kleptoparasitic bees, are a group of bees that do not build their own nests or collect food for their young. Cuckoo bees have a parasitic relationship with their host bees, as they do not contribute to the upkeep of the hive or the production of food. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other bee species and rely on the host bees to care for their offspring.


  • Cuckoo bees are medium-sized bees, ranging in size from 10 to 20 millimetres.
  • They have a slender and cylindrical body shape.
  • They have a dark brown or black colouring, with a matte appearance that lacks the typical shiny hairs found on most bees.
  • Their wings are also elongated, making them appear larger than their body size.
  • They have long and spindly legs, adapted for moving easily through the narrow cells of their host hives.
  • This bees have very little hair on their bodies, making them appear smooth and shiny.
  • They are often mistaken for wasps or hornets due to their lack of hair and elongated appearance.
  • Some species of cuckoo bee have distinctive markings, such as stripes or patterns, that distinguish them from other bees.
  • Cuckoo bee are known for their ability to mimic the appearance of their host species, which allows them to enter their hives undetected.

Cuckoo Bees

Life Cycle of Cuckoo Bees

  • This bee lays its eggs in the nests of other bee species, typically solitary bees.
  • The egg hatches into a larva, which feeds on the food stored in the nest by the host bee.
  • The larva pupates and transforms into an adult bee.
  • The adult cuckoo bee emerges from the host’s nest and begins foraging for food.
  • Male bee mate with female bees during the spring and summer months.
  • Female bees lay their eggs in the nests of other bee species, starting the cycle again.

Cuckoo Bees Habits

  • This bees are known for their parasitic nesting behaviour, where they lay their eggs in the nests of other bee species.
  • They do not collect nectar and pollen but rely on the food stores of the host nest to feed their young.
  • Cuckoo bee are known for their ability to infiltrate the nests of other bees and lay their eggs in the cells.
  • They mimic the appearance and behaviour of the host species, allowing them to blend in and avoid detection.
  • Cuckoo bee have evolved to choose specific host species, depending on the size and shape of their nests and the type of food they provide.
  • Cuckoo bees lay their eggs in the cells of the host nest and use their mandibles to carve a hole in the cell wall.