Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee
Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee, Sharp-Tailed Bee, Cuckoo Bee
Coelioxys is an insect genus in the family Megachilidae. They're closely related to Leaf-Cutter (Megachile), Mason (Osmia spp.) and Digger Bees (Anthophora spp.); however, they adopt a different lifestyle to the latter genera. These bees are Kleptoparasites. Although they initially forage their resources in the first few days of emergence after development, they will lay their eggs in the nests of other bees; mainly the nests of Leafcutter Bees. Once hatched, their larvae deplete the nests of the eggs and larvae belonging to the nest owner. They'll also clear nests of the pollen and nectar stores.
Adults: A small to medium-sized bee, these cuckoos are around 1cm in length. They possess large heads with larch compound eyes. The thorax is broad, and the abdomen stout and narrowing to a point. A thin white-silver or yellowish-brown bands of short hairs separate each abdominal segment, with long hairs on the lateral areas of the thorax. They possess a pair of pointy protrusions on the upper thorax, separated by a thin horizontal tuft of short hair. Larvae and Eggs: These reside in the burrows of other bees. They emerge as fully grown, mature cuckoo bees!
Europe and parts of the Nearctic, Neotropics and Afrotropics.
Although Coelioxys are parasites, they should be tolerated if present in the garden. They still have a role to play in the surrounding environment, so should be left to do their thing!