Calliopsis cuckoo nomad bee (Holcopasites calliopsidis)

Apidae > Holcopasites > Holcopasites calliopsidis

The best way to find calliopsis-cuckoo nomad (Holcopasites calliopsidis) is to find a nesting aggregation of its panurgine host Calliopsis andreniformis. Even then, you will have to look carefully because this tiny, wasp-like bee is easily overlooked. With sharp eyes, look for a red, gnat-like insect hovering low over the ground or resting with its wings characteristically tucked underneath its abdomen.


Late-June to early August. Coincides with active period of its host Calliopsis andreniformis.


Widespread, tied to range of host Calliopsis andreniformis.


Size << honey bee

Females and males are similar: rough hairless integument, orange eyes, black thorax, and red abdomen with two spots of white on either side of each abdominal segment; holds wings under or on sides of abdomen at rest.

Similar species

H. calliopsidis is the most common member of this genus in the region by far. H. illinoiensis has bands instead of whitish spots.


H. calliopsidis is a cleptoparasite of Calliopsis andreniformis.


Generalized. Often found on similar plants as its host: weedy legumes like Melilotus and Trifolium repens. Also visits tiny asters like yarrow (Achilliea millefolium) and fleabane (Erigeron).

Natural enemies

None known.

Page last updated: February 22, 2023