Neon Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus nitidulus), Boho South. Photo Terry Frewin.
A Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus sp), Boho South. Photo Terry Frewin.

But the similarity ends with the name. These bees really are parasites, just like cuckoos – they parasitise the nests of other bees! This Cuckoo Bee is most likely the parasite of the Blue Banded Bee, another local native bee, which many readers might be familiar with from their own gardens. This Cuckoo Bee was photographed the other day in a local garden on Upper Boho Rd, by Terry, a local naturalist. She’s seen Blue Banded Bees before, but not a Cuckoo Bee.

Many native bees, including cuckoo bees and Blue Banded Bees live solitary lives. If female Blue Banded Bees, that lay eggs in small crevasses, don’t guard their nests carefully,  Cuckoo Bees could find the nest and parasitise the brood.

Here’s a close-up of the striking banding on the tail end of a Blue Banded Bee.

Blue Banded Bee. Photo Louise Docker.