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What’s the buzz?

December 29, 2015

The Wild Pollinator Count last month taught me that there are many things, not only bees, that pollinate our flowers. And if you are thinking bees, the range of native bees is large.

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Recently I have noticed native Blue-banded Bees (Amegilla cingulate), pictured above, in our garden. About the size of a European Honey Bee it has blue bands on the abdomen – five if it’s a male, four if it’s a female. They are solitary bees that do not build a hive. Instead the female bee constructs a tunnel in the ground where it lays an egg and then looks after the hatched larva by feeding it nectar. The male sleeps outside, locking its jaws on a grass stem or stick then just hanging there (pictured below).

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Blue-banded Bees are ‘buzz pollinators’ – dislodging hard-to-get pollen by rapidly vibrating the flowers with either their wings or head. They are particularly attracted to blue and purple flowers and in our garden are found around the lavender and pelargoniums.

Trying to get a photograph of these bees is difficult. They flit about very quickly. They also seem to be more aware of intruders than the honey bee and if you get too close they will stop their feeding, fly over towards you and look you up and down. Most disconcerting.
But if you sit there long enough …

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Trent permalink
    December 29, 2015 11:12 pm

    Great patients, great photos

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  1. To Bee or not to bee? | Focus On Fauna

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