|Vestal Cuckoo Bee Bombus
(aka Southern Cuckoo Bee)
|Monks Eleigh, Suffolk,
The Vestal Cuckoo Bee is found in England and Wales but has recently started to move into Scotland. In the south of England it is by far the most commonly seen cuckoo bee.
Cuckoo bees parasitise social bumblebees by hi-jacking a nest and either killing or dominating the social bumblebee queen so that she lays no more eggs. The cuckoo bee queen then lays her eggs which are looked after by the social bumblebee workers. Cuckoo bees never produce workers only males and queens.
|The queen emerges from
hibernation about six weeks after its host by which time a nest
will have been established for it to parasitise. In the case of
the Vestal Cuckoo Bee, its host is the Buff-tailed Bumblebee
It looks similar to its host but lacks the yellow stripe on the abdomen which is shiny. The wings are also darker.
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