Las Pilitas Nursery

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Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Nomada, Cuckoo bees are Clepto-parasites

Nomada lay their eggs in other native bee nests. Then eat the young and then the food that the other bees had provided for their young. Not nice bees. But the males of the Cuckoo bees may provide chemical mimicry of Andrena nest odors (along with a few other native bees), and although way beyond the scope of this page, the male Cuckoo bee sprays the female bee with the scent of the specific nest to provide a magic cloak so the Host bee(like Andrena) does not see the invader and allows the Nomada female to lay eggs inside the other nest. The male Nomada may just smell like the nest of the host bee. One of the theories is that the Nomada produces extra pheromones for the Female Andrena to attract a mate, but this also has not been documented.

I can't help but see the use of these bees in a political science class. The bees look so hoighty-toighty but are causing so many problems for a beneficial system of coexisting bees and plants.

Nomada – cuckoo bee on Ribes indecorum. They were also on the Arctostaphylos Austin griffin and Ian Bush. - grid24_12
Nomada – cuckoo bee on Ribes indecorum. They were also on the Arctostaphylos Austin griffin and Ian Bush.
Nomada – cuckoo bee - grid24_6
Nomada – Cuckoo bee on Ribes indecorum flowers
Nomada, Cuckoo bees are Clepto-parasites. They lay their eggs in other native bee nests. Then eat the food and young of other bees. - grid24_12
Nomada, Cuckoo bees are Clepto-parasites. They lay their eggs in other native bee nests. Then eat the food and young of other bees.
A red Cuckoo Bee. - grid24_12
A red Cuckoo Bee on Yarrow.
Red Cuckoo Bee, Nomada - grid24_12
A red Cuckoo
Parasitic chiefly on Andrena.and the little sucker was stealing nectar from the manzanita flower. A real rotter. - grid24_6
Nomada crotchii, stealing nectar from a manzanita flower.
A Cuckoo bee in an Andrena nest. - grid24_12
A Cuckoo Bee in an Andrena nest