Species: Blood bee - unnamed 1 (Sphecodes sp.)

Family: Sweat bees (HALICTIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: One Sighting

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Sweat bees (HALICTIDAE)

The Sphecodes bees - or Blood bees - are usually black and red, although the red colour derives from cuticle pigment rather than blood. Their name stems from the Greek Phex (wasp) and odes (like), as they resemble wasps.

They are small or medium-sized bees that are cleptoparasitic of ground-nesting bees. There are in the region of 17 different species in this family/genus of bees. They are also thought of as cuckoo bees, as females enter a host's nest, force open a cell, destroy the egg or grub within before laying their own egg and then resealing the cell. Males are usually found on flowers, where they will seek nectar.

Sphecodes bees belong to the family Halictidae; these are commonly called Sweat bees because of their attraction to perspiration.

C. Blood bee - unnamed 1 (Sphecodes sp.)

The individual photographed here was visiting an umbellifer for nectar (in August 2023). Although this individual looks quite hairy, it lacks hairs and other structures for pollen collection.

Each of the 17 different British species of Sphecodes bees - and which the one photographed here is, is unknown - will use different species of host bees in whose nest the female will lay its eggs. This degree of specialization is typical in the natural world - but no less fascinating.

Images

Blood bee - unnamed 1 (Sphecodes sp.)

Blood bees are usually black and red. They are small or medium-sized bees that are cleptoparasitic of ground-nesting bees.

Blood bee - unnamed 1 (Sphecodes sp.)

There are in the region of 17 different species in this family/genus of bees. They are also thought of as cuckoo bees, as females enter a host's nest, force open a cell, destroy the egg or grub within before laying their own egg and then resealing the cell.