Last but not least, for the month of December the 2010 North American Native Bee Calendar features the Cuckoo Bee, genus Nomada.
Cuckoo Bees emerge in spring and early summer. Bees of this species are cleptoparasites – meaning they lay their eggs in the nests of other bees. Their offspring will then feed off the provisions that were stored and provided for their hosts. Females will hunt for, and detect the specific scent of, ground nesting Andrena species. Because females do not have to forage for their own young, they lack specialized hairs for carrying pollen and are most likely seen flying along the ground hunting for potential host nests.
Cuckoo bees are small bees with a thick cuticle to withstand attack from their hosts. They often have wasp-like features and coloring. Newly hatched larvae have specially shaped jaws for destroying their hosts.
To view images of Cuckoo Bees, click here. (Control or apple click to open the images in a new tab or window).
Favorite nectar sources of Cuckoo Bees include erigeron (fleabane) and grindelia (gumweed).
There you have it – a year's worth of native North American bees. Hope you enjoyed.