More buzzing about native bees
I thought I would talk about a couple more of Australia’s native bees because spring is here and they will be beginning to emerge. So keep your eyes out. These species may not be found in Victoria like all the ones in my first post were. But the ones I’m talking about here are exceptionally cute!
Carpenter bees are large and stunning and the green carpenter bee (Xylocopa bombylans) is no exception. This bee is about 2 cm long and is a beautiful metallic green/blue. They live inside the dried flowers of grass trees and occur along the coast of Queensland and New South Wales, but also live on Kangaroo Island and South Australia. But the distribution of this beautiful bee has been retracting because of land clearing for agriculture and housing. We also are suppressing fire, so the grass trees are producing less flowers which is related to its declining population.
Images from http://www.padil.gov.au/pollinators/Pest/Main/138578# Licensed under Creative Commons
Image from http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Xylocopa%20(Lestis)%20bombylans Licensed under Creative Commons
Amegilla bombiformis or the teddy bear bee is just as cute as its common name suggests. This is another large bee (around 1.8 cm) and is covered with lots of golden ‘fur’. This bee nests in burrows that are in the soil. It distribution is relatively unknown, but it has been recorded in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Right: image from http://www.padil.gov.au/pollinators/Pest/Main/138568 Licensed under Creative Commons
Left: sleeping, image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/linda-rogan/8320953270/sizes/z/in/photostream/ Licensed under Creative Commons
My last bee is called Trichocolletes hackeri and is not well known enough to have a common name. But this is one of our special endemic bees, as no other bee has colouring like it. It is mainly black but on its metasoma or abdomen it has bright, metallic gold bands. This bee has only been found in Queensland and nothing else is known about it. It’s just another of our beautiful bees for which we need more research.
Both images from http://www.padil.gov.au/pollinators/Pest/Main/139393# Licensed under Creative Commons