Habitat: native to Australia but it is also found in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor and Malaysia
Status: Not Listed
You probably always thought that bees came in your standard yellow and black attire like I did – but you’d be wrong! This is the Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata), a very beautiful insect that is also amazingly important to the agriculture of Australia. It contributes to 30% of the crops in Australia through its unique pollination technique, known as “buzz pollination.” It’s a strange process that scientists are still in the process of studying but basically the bee clings on to a flower and then vibrates powerfully, forcing the nectar to shoot out of the flower for it to collect. The coolest part though (I think) is that it usually only collects nectar from blue flowers… though occasionally it will go for non-blue ones as well. Isn’t that really interesting?
Blue-banded Bees differ from other bees, too, in that they are solitary, preferring to live in homemade sandstone burrows instead of in communal hives. I love these independent blue bees!