Coelioxys elongata

This Sharp-tailed Bee (this group is also called Sharp-abdomen Bees or Sharp-bellied Bees) has a dark brown to blackish abdomen with pale stripes, forming a definite point at the rear in females. The abdomen is less pointed in males, and the faces are quite hairy. Size 10 to 15mm.

A cleptoparasitic solitary bee of leaf-cutter bees of the genus Megachile. A good pollinator. Defined as a cuckoobee for its nature of laying eggs in the nests of social bees (similar to that of cuckoo birds where the name comes from) where they are reared as the hosts own larvae. The parasitic bee larva consumes the pollen ball and the larva within the cell and is tended by the host bee’s worker class. Feeds on pollen and nectar.

Coelioxys elongata female

Coelioxys elongata female

Seen June to September. Found in many habitats, including gardens. Local. Endangered species in Ireland.

June 2005 and May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2005 and 2014.