The queen is larger than the workers and male drones. The queen is responsible for egg laying and for controlling the hive using pheromones Nymphs (an immature form of an insect that does not change greatly as it grows).
Eggs hatch and develop into queens, workers and drones between 16 – 24 days.
The average lifespan of a queen is 3 – 4 years.
Drones usually die upon mating or are expelled from the hive before the winter.
Workers may live for a few weeks in the summer and several months in areas with an extended winter.
The European honey bee is common around suburban and urban areas. They are often seen in gardens. European honey bees can be found foraging on the flowers of many different native and introduced plant species.
These extremely social insects live in large hives dominated by a single queen.
European honey bees defend their nest aggressively. If a bee is driven to sting, the action is fatal as it rips out the bee’s lower abdomen. The sting, with the venom gland pumping, is left in the victim.
The European honey bee sting causes intense local pain and swelling. If the victim is allergic to bee venom, a sting may cause more severe symptoms and they should seek immediate medical attention.
The Blue-banded bee is found throughout Australia except Tasmania. The Blue-banded bee lives/is found in urban areas, woodlands & forests, and open land.
Some flowers hide pollen inside tiny capsules and require a special type of pollination, “buzz pollination”. The blue banded bee will perform “buzz pollination” by grasping a flower and shake her flight muscles causing the pollen to shoot out of the capsule. The female Blue-banded bee will then collect the pollen, carry it from flower to flower, pollinating other flowers, and take it back to her nest.
Many Australian native plants require buzz pollination e.g. Guinea Flower, Senna, Chocolate Lily & Fringe Lily. The Blue-banded bee may be seen in the garden around tomatoes plants.
The Blue-banded bee is native to Australia. They are good pollinators in the garden and can pollinate crops such as tomatoes, eggplants and kiwifruit as well as native plants such as Guinea Flower, Senna, Chocolate Lily & Fringe Lily.
The Blue banded bee is not aggressive, but they can give a mild sting if you grab them or step on them. If stung, a cold pack may be used to relieve the pain. If there is evidence of a more severe reaction or the sting victim is known to be allergic to wasp and bee venom, seek immediate medical attention.