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 threatened.
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 seen.
And now that they are back again, that's one blue that won't get me down!
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau