Experts foresee a better chance of survival for a rare cuckoo bee species after an individual reported sighting outside of their usual habitat in North America.
While bees aren’t deemed as a type of insect that is generally endangered, some species have been considered as rare since they can only be found in selected areas in the planet. One of them is the Macropis Cuckoo Bee.
What Is A Macropis Cuckoo Bee?
The Macropis cuckoo bee is a species of the Melittidae family and is usually found in Canada. It is a special kind of bee that rely on Macropis bees, a species that feeds on floral oils from flowers under the Lysimachia genus, for their nest and provisions.
Among its known food source is the Yellow Loosestrife plant, which is more popularly known as the “Yellow Flag” or “Swamp Candle.” These relatively small bees find their nests on the ground and are considered parasitic in nature because it relies on their flower and bee hosts to survive.
Why Are Macropis Cuckoo Bees Rare?
Like its feathered counterpart, cuckoo bees lay their eggs in the host bees’ nest and rely on them to feed their young. In fact, a species of cuckoo bee known as the Epeoloides pilosulus have taken their parasitic nature to a whole new level. The cleptoparasitic bee females take Macropis bees as host and kill its young after laying their eggs on their food.
Because of this intricate relationship involving a flower, an oil-feeding bee, and a parasitic one, the Macropis cuckoo bee has been added to the list of species at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). It was even thought to be extinct before evidence proved that they were still existing in Nova Scotia, Canada in 2002.
The Cuckoo Bee’s Expanded Range
A new report published in the Biodiversity Data Journal revealed that the Macropis cuckoo bee was spotted outside its known range in Canada.
Citing a report from an unnamed bee enthusiast, the expert team gathering information about this bee species was able to update their report on the known range of the rare cuckoo bee. With her colleague, Jennifer Heron from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, Dr. Cory Sheffield of Canada’s Royal Saskatchewan Museum presented and talked about the new hope for the cuckoo bees by publishing a report in the open access journal.
According to the experts, the co-dependence between the bee, the cuckoo bee, and the flower has made it more difficult to propagate. While they may seem like the villain in this set-up, the cuckoo bees are actually getting more strain from the ecological relationship, making their very existence feeble.
Fortunately, the rare cuckoo bees seem to be getting along better than scientists expected after its known range was expanded from Nova Scotia to Alberta. Because of this, they urged better monitoring of this species to see how the little creatures are faring in this modern world and, ultimately, to prevent them from going extinct.
Saving Cuckoo Bees
On top of specialized its ecological relationship, the cuckoo bee is also considered as a species that is incapable of adapting to changes in either the host bees and the oil-producing plants. In fact, scientists believed that this is the very reason why cuckoo bees are very rare.
Taking that into consideration, specialists believe that it is important to maintain an ecological balance to avoid these bees from disappearing for good. Luckily, companies like the Healthy Bees LLC which created the BeesVita Plus supplement, are working day and night to maintain a healthy environment for these sensitive little creatures that greatly contribute to the world’s crop supply through pollination.