This is a blue banded bee photo. Ivan Cheah of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia made these bee photos. He was so kind to send them to Lizia in The Hague, the Netherlands, accompanied by notes:
Ivan Cheah wrote: “This bee is visiting this Lantana almost everyday. Guess this bee starting to recognise me… not so elusive anymore… allowing me to take a few shots of it. Not easy to take picture of this bee. Only those who tried or captured the picture of this bee will understand this.”
Lizia wrote: “It is the ‘Amegilla cingulata.’
Ivan Cheah wrote: “ Yes… precisely this is the same bee. This one from Wikipedia the blue color is not so significant, as bright and luminous as in my picture.
I think that one must be a female.
Females have four blue bands; males five.
Yup… this species is common in Australia… I think cross continental took place that’s why this species is also available in Malaysia. One thing I don’t understand is why this bee is always lone ranger… the most I saw before is only two of it at the same place.
My next hope is someday day I’ll get to see its hive… seriously if I get to see its hive it will be like I strike a lottery. Every time I see this bee I start asking myself… when will I get to see your hive?
Lizia: “It is a wild and solitary bee. You’ll find the nest of this lady if you have time to follow her.”
Comment on photo: Ivan Cheah: “Everytime I see it I will look at it attentively… to observe its behaviour. This bee is a very intelligent bee. Whenever I get near it… it will buzz erratically… funny thing is sometimes it will buzz just a feet from me for a few seconds … sometimes it will buzz away in a second… sometimes it will continue to collect the nectar. I guess… it stays because it’s hungry or else it will just buzz away … hahaha”
Lizia: “She must work hard, she can’t rely on others as she is solitary.” [ . . ]. “ Your ‘blue banded bee’ is very important for the cultivation of tomato-like plants (Solanaceae). Our domestic honey bee doesn’t like tomato or lantana flowers. The wild bees are important for the pollination of such flowers.”
Ivan Cheah: “I think this species population is very low… I don’t always get to see it. My worry is this species is very susceptible to extinction by pesticide since its population is so low as compared with honey bee.”
(Ivan Cheah / Cheah Lai Hoo (Ivan), Kuala Lumpur, studied at Indontgoto University)
Project Noah says: “The bees use a process that involves clinging onto flowers and vibrating powerfully, which causes the food source to shoot out.”
Project Noah says: ”Amegilla cingulata builds a solitary nest, but often close to one another.”
Malaysia is well aware of the value of ‘wild bees.’ The country developed a method of ‘trap nesting’ and managing wild carpenter bees to pollinate passion fruit (Passiflora edulis). (See: http://www.sugarbag.net/)
Dave’s Garden: “During fall, blue banded bee adults all die as temperatures cool within their nests. Before they die however, the female bees lay eggs within the nests which become immature bees called prepupae. They remain dormant, burrowed in the nest inside cell sacs throughout the winter months and do not emerge until spring brings warmer weather. Then they finish their development into adults and emerge into the warmth of spring and begin a new season of life .’” Read more here.
Lazy Lizard Tales: “Blue-banded bee (Amegilla sp.), Chestnut Avenue: “These bees pose virtually no threat to people. A sting from these bees feels like a mere pinprick and is extremely unlikely anyway. A neatly kept garden and well-maintained walls and brickwork will discourage them from nesting where people may contact them. It should be noted, however, that they should indeed be encouraged in gardens.” It’s important to recognise that among the many species of bees and wasps present in Singapore, only a select few pose any potential serious danger to people, and usually only in situations when a nest has been disturbed. Even when hornet or honeybee nests have been detected, simply avoiding the immediate vicinity is typically enough to avoid provoking a defensive response.“ http://lazy-lizard-tales.blogspot.nl/2013/12/beehive-hangs-from-woodlands-bus-stop.html (another Ivan)
Research has for the first time revealed the heavy metal secret behind an Australian bee’s unique approach to pollination: high-speed headbanging. In an effort that would put metal fans to shame, the native blue-banded bee has been filmed head banging flowers up to 350 times a second. The technique causes vibrations that release pollen into the air similar to the motion of a salt and pepper shaker, helping pollinate the flower: here.
he is so purty!
Indeed. In this case, ‘she’, as a male blue banded bee would have one band more 🙂
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I have some wild blue banded bees in my backyard. As they are solitary bees they make their nest in the holes of my concrete columns. If Ivan would like to encourage them to nest around the garden you could make clay walls for them to burrow in or tie a bunch of hollow bamboos together with hole diameter No bigger then 15mm
Hi Charles, thanks for your comment!