Nutball Naptime (Cuckoo Bee)

cuckoo bee napping while hanging onto grass with mandibles

Cuckoo Bee (Nomada sp.?) taking a nap on the end of a stalk of grass.

Do insects sleep? Sort of; they take distinct rest periods anyway. Cuckoo bees (subfamily Nomadinae) like this one will hang on to a plant with their mandibles while they catch the equivalent of bug Zzzz’s. I couldn’t quite verify if this is mostly a cuckoo bee behavior — I don’t believe so, but I can’t think of any specifically non-cuckoo examples at the moment. One thing that I do know many bees won’t do, is the cuckoo behavior of laying their eggs in other bees’ nests and having the hosts essentially raise their offspring for them. And yes, the bees (and wasps) who go by “cuckoo” get the moniker from the eponymous bird. Since cuckoo bees do not need to provision for their offspring, they have evolved without pollen-carrying structures such as the pollen baskets (corbiculae) of honey bees.


7 thoughts on “Nutball Naptime (Cuckoo Bee)

  1. This seems to be common behaviour amongst the Nomada. Not that I’ve witnessed it myself. Not sure if it is common amongst other solitary bee (or wasp) species? There are a few examples on Mark Berkery’s site.

  2. Michael apparently ‘males sometimes form “sleeping aggregations” on vegetation – several males gathering on a single plant in the evening, grasping a plant with their jaws and resting there through the night (sometimes held in place only by the jaws, with the legs dangling free in space).’ Now that would make an interesting photo ;0)

    1. Very interesting! I’d love to see that kind of group behavior; insects are so similar from one to the next to the human eye, I think the facsimile factor has a special impact. And of course, as they say, there is power in numbers!

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