Photo taken by SatyenM in Maharashtra, India
The blue banded bee (Amegilla cingulata) is a bee native to Australia, believed to contribute to at least 30% of the continent’s crops through its distinctive “buzz pollination“.
Cingulata is from the Latin word cingulum (“belt”) referring to the bee’s distinctive bands. Unlike the honey bee, A. cingulata has pale blue stripes on its abdomen instead of yellow. The female has four bands; the male has five complete bands that are brighter blue in color to attract female bees. In size, blue banded bees can grow to 0.39–0.47 in.
In contrast to honey bees that live in hives, blue banded bees are solitary creatures who build solitary nests, though often close to one another. Blue banded can sting but are not as aggressive as other bees. They nest in soft sandstone, burrows, dried up river banks, old clay homes and in mortar between bricks. Cells at the end of tunnels contain an egg with a pollen/nectar mixture for emerging larvae.
Though native to Australia, the blue banded bee is also found in tropical and subtropical Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor and Malaysia. The bees inhabit urban areas, woodlands, forests and heath areas.
H/t Project Noah