I don’t know the answer to this yet. But it does amaze me that bees can be so different. The honey-bees, which are working their collective magic in my hive, doing their job, relying on each other – will only survive as a colony. As soon as they stop working together the whole colony will unravel. It’s what’s known as a super-organism. When I watch the Patriots playing NFL, it does seem they borrow from the same playbook. Each has a role to do, without one the whole thing falls down, and as Bill Belichick, their coach says – just “do your job”.
The native bees of Australia on the other hand – are mostly solitary. Burrowing into soft rock, or mortor, or hollows.
So there I was this morning, meditating over my hive, drinking coffee, when my eye glanced a solitary blue-banded bee buzzing around a nearby perennial basil. The blue-banded bee and many other native bees love perennial basil. That’s why I planted it. It’s long flowering at the end of summer. I was so excited I almost tripped rushing for my camera. It was still there when I returned. This one is female I think – distquinshed by the four bands (vs five for male).
(and thank you to the lovely native bee expert who contacted me to advise on the correct scientific name for this blue-banded bee in Katoomba – it’s is either Amegilla asserta or Amegilla pulchra)