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UK Nature  > Bees  > Nomada fabriciana

Scientific Name:   Nomada fabriciana
Common Name:   Cuckoo Bee

With over 850 species, the genus Nomada is one of the largest genera in the entire family Apidae, and the largest genus of cleptoparasitic cuckoo bees. They occur worldwide, and utilize many different types of bees as hosts, primarily the genus Andrena. As parasites, they lack a pollen-carrying scopa, and are often extraordinarily wasp-like in appearance with red, black, yellow colors prevailing, and with smoky (infuscated) wings or wing tips.

Nomada abriciana is a medium-small, reddish nomad with the unique combination of a black labrum and bifid (divided by a deep cleft or notch into two parts) mandibles. The female antennal flagella are usually orange with a broad black band and orange tip (a feature only otherwise seen in female N. armata and to a lesser extent N. zonata), but are occasionally all black or virtually all-orange.

Females usually have small yellow spots at the sides of tergite 2 and ill-defined black bands across tergite 3 and 4, though the abdomen can be entirely red without yellow spots or have dark bands in some. The legs vary from extensively reddish to almost entirely black. Males resemble females but have black antennal flagella and often have yellow spots on tergites 2 and 3.

This is a widespread and locally common nomad that seems to attack several Andrena species but primarily A. bicolor. It is bivoltine (having two generations a year) in most places with a strong spring generation and a weak late summer one.
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