Monday, August 17, 2009

The Return Of The Blue-banded Bees

Although the Musical Notes have been blooming profusely since
June, I have never noticed any pollinator being active here! Or
else I'd surely have caught a winged admirer against that
pristine white backdrop.

But the other day I was in for a pleasant surprise. The familiar
loud, almost angry buzzing, was music to my ears! After a gap of
two months (I last saw them here in May), the blue-banded bees
were back!!!

From March to May they were active in my garden. The loud buzzing
and that striking metallic blue made sure you didn't ignore them!
I wonder if it was because certain plants were trimmed and re-
arranged that disturbed them in some way. But I'm so glad to see
them again!

Although I've tried taking several shots in the past, I've never
managed a clear shot. This is because they fly very fast and even
if they hover near flowers, they're never still! The above photo
was taken in May and the one below, in March. I found one hovering
near the Coleus. You'll need to look hard to locate it!!

I looked up several sites and here's what I found.

The Blue-banded bees are native to Australia although their close
relations can be found throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They
are members of the genus Amegilla. They are all small to medium
(7 to 15mm average) with conspicuous pale-blue or bright-blue
bands on a mainly black abdomen. Males have five bands and
females, four.

Blue-banded bees are buzz pollinators. They use a special technique
to get pollen from flowers. They hold on to the flower and vibrate
with a loud buzzing sound. The vibration causes the flower to drop
the pollen on the bees' bodies. Although the blue-banded bees are
attracted to blue and purple flowers, they visit blooms of other
colours too. They are not aggressive and will sting only if

The female bees build nests in shallow burrows in the ground or
in the soft mortar of houses. Males cluster at night by clinging
to twigs or stems. At rest, the blue looks very pale. I did find
them once at dusk (in April) clinging to a stem, and with their
wings closed.It's only when they fly that the deep blue can be

And now that they are back again, that's one blue that won't get
me down!


Anonymous said...

I love learning new things. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Kanak, This is fascinating to me. The blooms are pretty but those bees are amazing. What about the males having 5 stripes, and the females 4. I know you were thrilled to see them back in your garden and thank you for sharing the pictures.

Susie said...

I'm glad you saw them back in your garden Kanak. What pretty blue stripes they have. I would love to hear their pollinating buzz.

islandgal246 said...

How neat Kanak! Oooh your musical notes are stunning! The blue banded bees are new to me and lucky you to have them back.

Stephanie said...

This blue banded bee gives a loud sound? Amazing creature. The musical notes flowers are so pretty. I love to watch the flowers from your photos. Very beautiful!

lotusleaf said...

Congratulations , Kanak for capturing those fast flyers. They seem to be an electric blue.I have not seen musical notes before. Such lovely flowers.

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Hi Kanak, amazing colour of the buzy bee. Well done it is certainly hard to 'catch' them. I'm back on solid ground again and this morning I'm enjoying 'walks' in all the bloggers gardens, truely wonderful. Soon I'm going to clear up my garden that has run wild during my absence.

Take care xoxo Tyra

birdy said...

You have some nice shots. I think they are very difficult to capture. Yesterday I observed that a blue banded bee is visiting a wild blue flowering plant, I waited there for about half an hour but didn't get even a single shot.

easygardener said...

What a lovely name for a bee - and so suitable!

Prospero said...

Love those musical notes ... and the bees. Good write-up too. Very interesting information, Kanak.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

The colors of the bee amazes me. This is what I love about blogging, seeing different things. I would not even guess a blue bee. Glad to hear they are not aggressive. We need those bees.

Autumn Belle said...

Kanak, a blue striped bee? Wow. I have never heard of that before. Why is it that the bugs in your region are so beautiful. Or is it because of you and your good writing style that bugs appear to be so lovely? Great.

ShySongbird said...

Musical Notes! What a beautiful name for a plant Kanak and your Blue-banded Bees are so different from any we have here, I enlarged the photos and they are so striking. I also loved the Damselfly on your previous post, such a lovely colour and also the blue/black wasp. I have put you on my sidebar so I can keep a closer eye on you ;)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Loved reading all your comments...I was away for a short while which is why this response took its time. Thank you once again. I'll be at your blogs soon!

Anonymous said...

8/24/09 Hi Kanak, Thanks for your visit this morning. I hope you and your family had a nice weekend also. For the first time in three years, my husband and I got out and about with my brother. We drove to north Georgia where there are pretty mountain views and apples fresh from the orchard. We also had lunch at a Cajun restaurant. It is finally beginning to get cooler and less humid here. Wish I could share some apples with you!!! Have an enjoyable week.

Anonymous said...

Kanak, you don't have to print this - I just wanted to say that I am sorry about your father. I know how hard his illness is on you and your Mother. I am happy he has returned home and pray that he is more comfortable. My email is on my profile if you ever need to "talk." Your friendship is a blessing and I think of you and your family often.

Urban Gardener said...

Loved the musical notes. I didn't know something like that existed. The pictures are stunning. It was a pleasure reading up.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Mildred, I'm so touched by this...I'd love to 'talk' to you. Thanks.

UG, thank you for stopping by. I'll be at yours soon.

Carla said...

What a beautiful white blooming plant. That blue banded bee is too cool!