Monday, June 30, 2014
A Cuckoo Came to Our Pollinator Picnic!!!!
Photo: Coelioxys on Santolina blossoms
There is a short border of Yellow Lavender (aka Cotton Lavender, aka Lavender Cotton) around the community herb garden at Moberly. Although we usually trim it low to keep it tidy, I decided to let one corner bloom to see which insects visited the flowers. Eagle-eyed Erin Udall from the Environmental Youth Alliance spotted a cuckoo bee hanging out on one of the flowers which is composed of tiny yellow florets. You've never seen me whip out my camera so fast to capture a shot of this bee. Erin explained that this bee is a cleptoparasite that lays its eggs in the nest of other bees. Our distinguished human visitor, botanist Douglas Justice, (with tongue firmly in cheek) asked: "Shouldn't we be squashing this bee if it preys on other bees?" "No!", we exclaimed in unison, "It's a sign of healthy biodiversity. Leave the cuckoo alone!" The Coelioxys responded by flying off to another celebrity appearance and was not available for comment.
Check out Sean McCann's blog for super cute photos of cuckoo bees sleeping on tansy stems.