Author Gary Taylor ◦
The beautiful big bum of a Blue banded bee busy burrowing into a Banksia, bit boring butt… apart from clearly not being able to easily squeeze that big bum between the jungle of anthers down to the nectar, like the smaller and much more slender Hylaeine and Euryglossine bees do (they simply dive in and slip around like seals in a kelp forest, it took her ages to get right in and when she finally came back out, last pic, the exit was just as graceful 😄), there’s actually a lot in this… 🙂
The first and most obvious is it doesn’t have blue bands. This one is Amegilla chlorocyanea, it CAN have blue bands but they can also be white, yellow, peach, green or even a mix of all of the above. Which is why I prefer to simply call ’em “Amegilla” (or as our friend Megan calls them, “Banded Amegilla“) 🙂
The next thing is the Banksia it’s on… You’ll often hear people say “Blue banded bees love blue flowers…” And it’s true, they do (at my place the Rosemary, Eremophila and Morning Glory flowers are their favourite). But you’ve probably also heard them being called “generalist feeders” too. That just means they’re not actually that fussy, if there’s no Manuka honey for the toast and all that’s left is Golden Syrup, it’ll have to do.
Which is kinda the next point… how here in Midwest WA we’ve just had our longest, hottest, driest summer on record and trees that would usually be flowering profusely, dripping with nectar and covered in bees are barely flowering and flowering dry… no nectar, no bees. There’s heaps of Banksias closer to home on the coast and I’ve checked them thoroughly but I haven’t yet seen a bee on them… This place however, (I call it my failsafe spot) is about 50 K’s out of town and tucked down in a valley in an area known for it’s natural springs. The water doesn’t bubble up out of the ground here but I’d bet it’s not far down… Close enough for the Banksias to dip their toes and provide the water content needed to produce a good supply of nectar… any port in a storm, even if it requires a bit of navigation…
Happy to say it has now rained since these pics were taken, but it’s a bit late for a lot of bees, the season was pretty much over… And so the final points to the story behind the pics… Amegilla are so abundant and common here and I have soooo many pics (“Your computer is full and you need to make space“) that I rarely take pics of them anymore, unless it’s to record them on a flower I haven’t seen them use and/or behaviour I haven’t yet captured, such as trying to squeeze their big bums into a Banksia… 😄 Like hitting 50 and thinkin’ your still gonna fit into the jeans and singlet you wore at 30… 😆
Anyway, they’ve have had their time, this girl, and a few guys hangin’ about that seemed more interested in fighting than fff… family page… fornicating, are the stragglers. The last of the Amegilla now until mid to late November. No point saying “fare well”, that’s unlikely, but I hope their children do… 😀
We’ll find out soon enough… 🙂