neon cuckoo bee (thyreus nitidulus)
neon cuckoo bees are parasitic bees native to australia. they are recognisable by their stocky build and striking metallic black and blue colouration. as the name suggests, females seek out nests of the blue-banded bee and lay their eggs in them whilst they are unguarded. blue-banded bees often construct nests near to each other so the neon cuckoo may raid more than one nest in the same trip. after hatching in the host nest, the larvae of the cuckoo bee consume the larder that would be meant for the blue-banded larvae.
dilemma orchid bee (euglossa dilemma)
dilemma orchid bees are solitary, euglossine bees native to central america. they sport a glossy, metallic green colouration and translucent wings. males are specialised to pollinate neotropical orchids and collect fragrance from them for courtship, but when the orchids are not available, they may visit basil, rotten timber and wood oozing resin to gather other fragrances. to attract a mate, the male releases the fragrance and fans his wings to disperse it. after mating the female builds a solitary nest using exudates from plants.
long-tongued bee (euglossa hyacinthina)
the long-tongued bee (to answer your question, it’s 4cm long) is a species of orchid bee native to the neotropics of central america. it is a metallic, glossy blue with dark translucent wings. it is eusocial and has an unusual social structure – it has no worker or queen bees, but females are dominant when a social hierarchy is formed. 82% of these bees are female and only the females have stings. females spend a total of just 18-37 minutes building their resin nests to lay their eggs.
green sweat bee (agapostemon texanus)
green sweat bees are bright metallic green, blue or brassy yellow with black and yellow bands. like other sweat bees, these bees are attracted to human sweat for its salt, but they are also very important pollinators for many wildflowers and crops including pomme fuits, alfalfa, sunflowers and stone fruits. they build a nest in bare, dry dirt or soft wood and live a solitary life. only females are capable of stinging but are non-aggressive, so the risk to humans is low unless a female is swatted or otherwise injured.
orchard mason bee (osmia lignaria)
first glance, the orchard mason bee appears black, but is actually a
stunning metallic blue or green. males have longer antennae than females
and a tuft of light-coloured fluff on their foreheads. these bees are
very shy and peaceful and fly away when disturbed instead of stinging.
they can also decide on the sex of their eggs they lay by either
fertilising the egg or not – unfertilised eggs are male, fertilised eggs
are females. to lay the eggs, orchard bees make nests using mud and
arrange their brood in a series of partitions, one egg per partition.
one or two female eggs are laid in the back of the nest in the larger
cavities and an average of three males towards the front. the mother
works tirelessly to stockpile pollen in the nest for the emerging larvae
until she dies at four to eight weeks old.
raven ariana simons)
such a cool bee!