Blue-banded Bee

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Blue-banded beeGenus: Amegilla
Species: Amegilla cingulata
Common names: Blue-banded Bee
ALA reference

Australia is home to several thousand species of native bees of which all but about a dozen species are solitary. Like the other solitary bees the blue-banded bee can sting but does so rarely and only if highly provoked. It was a frequent visitor to the Commelina flowers but was rather difficult to photograph because it only spent a second, or two at the most, at each flower. As you can see in the photo it has already extended its tongue ready for a quick drink of nectar before it even alights on the flower. It is a buzz pollinator although this isn’t relevant for feeding on the Commelina flowers. In our garden it is the main bee attracted to our Dichorisandra flowers. To gather the pollen from these flowers it vibrates the pollen bearing part of the flower with a loud buzzing sound. Other bees such as the European honey bee and native stingless bees never bother visiting the Dichorisandra flowers as they don’t possess this buzzing capability and so cannot obtain anything from the flowers.

(April 2012)