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Cuckoo Wasp... a good thing/or bad thing to have around?

 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 312
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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This past summer I noticed these little 1" inch long brilliant blue and green bees flying all around my children's swing set in the back yard.

They were the first time I had ever seen this type of bee. However, they were the most beautiful bee I had ever seen before. So I watched the dozen or so flying around to see what they were doing for a few seconds. They were basically just chilling out in these old tiny holes(1/4" maybe) in the wood.

I got excited because I thought surely they must be some sort of solitary bee. At the end of summer I even went back to the holes and noticed that they were apparently protecting their young perhaps... because they all died inside the holes... effectively blocking outside predators with their bodies.

Now I have finally figured out what the bees were I think. Turns out they are parasitic wasps called Cuckoo Wasp. Upon further reading I discovered that some of the species out West in California actually prey on Mason Bees... which I will of course not allow if that happens to mine.(I am setting out a new mason bee house this spring to lure in local bees)

I also read that they will feed on nectar... so another potential plus if they do some light pollination.

What are you guys thoughts and experiences on the little beauties?

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/cuckoo_wasp_zzwerzy-300x206.jpg
 
wayne stephen
steward
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Sounds like they are already preying on your Carpenter bees . They have their own predators I am sure - Cuckoo birds , dragonflys ? Hopefully nature will find a balance that suits you .
 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 312
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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wayne stephen wrote:Sounds like they are already preying on your Carpenter bees . They have their own predators I am sure - Cuckoo birds , dragonflys ? Hopefully nature will find a balance that suits you .



I suppose I will just have to wait and see what type of solitary bee used that tiny hole. Probably leaf cutter or something. I could take a drill out there and make a massive amount of similar sized holes... and give the bees a safety in numbers thing there. Perhaps those bees were just using the holes as shelter... laying their eggs elswhere nearby.
 
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