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Thread: Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

  1. #1

    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Stumbled upon these in some nearby woodland at the weekend:

    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    It's a cuckoo bee(Nomada fulvicornis) that invades other bees nests and takes over.

    I also got some bee flies in the same spot - these are harmless flies, they just look weird:
    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Thanks for looking.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Hi again Andy,

    Nice shots (as usual)

    Good to see some of your work again.

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    cthermans's Avatar
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    Cheri

    Re: Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Your pictures are great and I never knew a cuckoo bee(Nomada fulvicornis) existed although I do have pictures of a humming bird bee. The fly is pretty weird. I hope you don't mind, but I have included my picture of the humming bird bee. i wish I could have gotten a clearer picture, but the bee moved so fast.
    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

  4. #4

    Re: Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Thanks Dave and Cheri. I never knew Cuckoo Bees existed either and at first I though I was shooting a wasp but after an interesting evening's research was able to find out what they were and what they were doing. At the time I thought the bigger bee was just lost but I now suspect it was one of the evicted bees:
    Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Very cool hummingbird bee - thanks for showing my your weird beastie

  5. #5

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    Matt

    Re: Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    Awesome macro work. All these pictures are great. I'm a fan.

  6. #6

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    Re: Cuckoo Bee and Bee Fly

    You did well to shoot a flying Nomada which are fast and erratic fliers.

    In the UK, there are around 60 species of Nomada although many are uncommon, and most are difficult to correctly identify. Yours is female but I'm not sure of identification from that angle. Nomada fluvicornis and N. marshamella are almost identical; with the latter being much more common.

    They usually fly close to the ground while searching for a suitable 'host' bee nest, which is a small burrow containing one egg. When one is located, the Nomada (females) lay an egg in the other bee's nest.

    When the Nomada egg hatches it kills the host bee's egg, or larvae, and eats the food supply which was left by the original nest builder. Eventually, after developing, the young Nomada leaves the burrow and the process starts again.

    Some Nomada species will attack a number of host bee species while others are dependent one just one host species. Varieties of Andrena bees are the normal victims.

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