I managed to capture this cute little critter darting quickly around the basil flowers at Habitat in Harmony Community garden. This is a Blue Banded Bee (‘amegilla’ genus from the apidae family). These bees are very special because unlike common honey bees (introduced European species) these are native to australia and due to habitat destruction, they are sadly at risk. Blue banded bees are one of our most beautiful Australian native bees. They are about 11 mm long and have bands of metallic blue fur across their black abdomens.
I absolutely love Blue Banded Bees for a few reasons:
1. They are native. (yay!)
2. They do not sting.
3. Unlike European Bees, Blue banded bees are solitary. This means that each female bee mates and then builds a solitary nest by herself. Although they like building nests near each other, so maybe they like some company every now and then.
4. They have a very interesting pollination trick. Its called ‘buzz pollination’, where instead of sticking their tongue in a flower and having a sip and buggering off, they sometimes actually grab a flower, beat their wings super quick and shake the crap out of a flower! The pollen then falls out onto their bellies and they collect it up and fly away. Cool huh! Lots of our prettiest native flowering plants actually need buzz pollination in order to set seed, so they are crucial insects to protect if we want to enjoy beautiful wildflowers in the bush.
5. My very favorite thing about them though, is that they grab onto a branch WITH THEIR MOUTH and have a little rest after a long day sipping nectar, and while they are hanging there, they wiggle their little abdomen constantly! Its so cute!
For more info about our fascinating Native bees (of which there are heaps!) visit http://www.aussiebee.com.au