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University of Minnesota Extension

Species guide - species detail

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Stelis permaculata (Cuckoo bee)



Stelis is a genus of parasitic bees in the family Megachilidae. They are nest parasites, meaning they do not make their own nests but lay their eggs in nests of other bees, usually in the family Megachilidae. Stelis sp. larvae kill the host larva and grow in its cell instead. Sometimes there are close pairings between host bee species and Stelis species. Other times the Stelis seem to be able to chose from several host bee species.


Stelis do not have scopa to carry pollen since they do not provision their own nests. Stelis permaculata is a black bee with pale markings on the sides of the abdomen, top of the head and along the inner edge of the eye in females. It has very short pale hairs on its body. Their body form is fairly robust and cylindrical. They are a pretty small bee, roughly the size of Heriades.

Nest Structure

We had three nests that produced Stelis permaculata. One of the three was a Heriades carinata nest, and the other two did not have any of the host bees emerge.

Hole Sizes

Stelis permaculata emerged from upper column 3 (1/8") holes in Bee Atlas blocks.


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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