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University of Minnesota Extension

Species guide - species detail

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Chrysididae (Cuckoo wasps)



Chrysididae is a family of parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in the nests of other wasps or bees. The Chrysidid larva kills and eats the larva of the host bee/wasp and then consumes the nest provisions. However, the larvae do not move into other nest cells from the one they were deposited in, and most nests that are parasitized by Chrysidid wasps also produce host offspring. They were a common parasite of bee and wasp nests in Bee Atlas blocks, and they are widely distributed throughout the state. We did not identify our specimens to genus or species.


Wasps in the family Chrysididae are very small to medium sized wasps that are nearly hairless and brilliant metallic blue or green, sometimes with some red or purple. Their integument (outer layer) is highly sculpted and rough looking. The abdomens are concave underneath, and when startled, they curl up into nearly spherical balls.

Nest Structure

In Bee Atlas blocks, Chrysididae mostly parasitized small Sphecid wasps and Osmia lignaria. They have also emerged from a few nests of Osmia tersula, Heriades sp., Typoxylon sp. wasps, and the Eumenid wasps Ancistrocerus antilope and Ancistrocerus albophaleratus.

Hole Sizes

No information at this time.


No information at this time.

Activity Period

No information at this time.


No information at this time.

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

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