Typically, each species of orchid bee has a complex mutualistic relationship with a corresponding orchid in their native range. Blue banded bees are an Australian native bee instantly recognizable by it’s iridescent striped body. Commentary by entomologist John S. Ascher at bug-guide.net highlights the following subtle traits that help distinguish. Fast-moving and no larger than a skinny housefly, these wasps stand out nonetheless: They glow an outrageous iridescent blue-green… 'Iridescent Green Bee' - A limited edition art piece by Jessica Albarn. At first I thought it might be one of the 2000 bees in The Halictidae Family. The abdomen of the male Agapostemon sericeus (shown above) is a flat yellow-and-black. Augochlorella aurata social behavior shows flexibility, however. They have a yearly life cycle split into spring and summer phases. PHOTO CREDITS:  All photos and text © Copyright 2014-2016 Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman, unless otherwise noted. Orchids will produce scents that attract males of a particular species of bee that is the ri… 1967. According to Charles D. Michener’s The Social Behavior of the Bees, the tribe Augochlorini consists of bees that are typically brilliant green (but sometimes purple, blue, brassy, red or black); and that live predominantly in Central and South America. Order:   Hymenoptera Tribe:   Augochlorini, A female Augochlora pura with her legs laden with red pollen. The blue banded bee is among a number of Australian wild bees with the ability to buzz-pollinate various flowers, much like the bumble bee. Augochloropsis metallica bees are solitary and nest in the ground. These unusual structures play an important role in the storage of fragrant, aromatic compounds which male orchid bees collect from their environment. In late spring and early summer, silky Agapostemons are avid visitors of orange milkweed in the gardens and fields of Stone Barns and the park. The augochlorini shown below lack the agapostemon's sexual differentiation as well -- male augochlorini resemble females and, like them, have green, rather than striped abdomens. It ranges from Manitoba, Canada south to Florida on a north-south axis, and from Nebraska to Massachusetts on the east-west axis. Augochlorella aurata are considered “primitively eusocial” bees. They emerge in spring to complete the colony’s life cycle. They are distinguished from other beetles by their unusual antennae, each of which terminates in three flattened plates that fit together to form a club. They are roughly the same size to slightly smaller than a honey bee, usually about 1.3 cm in length. See more ideas about sweat bees, mason bees, bee. Both genders have heavy, long bills that are curved downward. Note: Please note that insects do not adhere to man-drawn borders on a map and as such they may be found beyond their listed 'reach' showcased on our website. Some species are entirely metallic in color, while others sport attractive brown and white stripes on their abdomen. In the second phase, the original “foundress workers” cease working and the new workers take over and provision the nest for a second brood of 8-13 males and females called reproductives. Augochlorella aurata bees are broad generalist pollinators that visit a seemingly endless range of wildflowers. Bees of the augochlorini tribe tend to be smaller generally than the agapostemons shown above. In addition to being efficient pollinators of wildflowers, bi-colored Agapostemons are key pollinators of sunflowers and legumes. Mature nests can contain up to 20 cells. Their legs are yellow with with black markings. The males die and the inseminated females overwinter. A young orchid bee nest constructed inside an empty nucleus colony box (a beekeeping hive box half as wide as a typical hive box used for housing small honey bee colonies) (a). Hand Characteristics of Male Silky Agapostemons: Augochlora,  Augochloropsis,  and Augochlorella. According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders, bi-colored Agapostemons work cooperatively; bees entering the nest carrying pollen are given right-of-way over those trying to leave, and multiple bees in the nest work to restore entrance holes as they crumble. Augochlorella bees are also common pollinators of apples, caneberries, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelons. At the top of the bee's hind leg is the segment called the trochanter -- on bi-colored Agapostamon males, this segment is metallic green, as shown here. Auguchlorini vs. agapostemons. (2)  Augochloropsis metallica's tegula (where the wing attaches) is angled and metallic green. Agapostemon sericeus –  .4" - .45"  (medium-small). The females have dark legs covered with long pale-gold hairs. Typically, each species of orchid bee has a complex mutualistic relationship with a corresponding orchid in their native range. Only a few species, divided into three genera (genuses) --  Augochlora,  Augochloropsis,  and Augochlorella -- range into the United States and Canada. This trait at times helps distinguish them from the silky Agapostemon shown below. This is mostly due to their large size and bright metallic-green coloration (Fig.1). Males of this species have green heads and thoraxes and yellow-and-black striped abdomens. The bees keep their nests well-hidden under leaves and grass, but occasionally you may observe one of these bees suddenly disappear into a hole in the ground. Augochlora pura become highly visible in the park in May, pollinating spring wildflowers and the tree peonies in the park's Peony Monument garden. A male silky agapostemon (Agapostemon sericeus). Bi-colored Agapostemons pass more than one generation in a single summer, and thus, they are visible from the beginning to the end of the warm season in New York. Some traits that are helpful in distinguishing female silky Agapostemons are:   (1)  They are much heftier than the three green metallic bees shown below -- the silky Agapostemon's abdomen is broader and bulkier, and its body is notably longer (nearly half an inch, compared to Augochlora pura  at .31"; Augochlora metallica at .35"; and Augochorella aurata at .21"). 2004. Identifying Traits:  Augochloropsis metallica bees have brilliant yellow-green bodies and broad, roughly hexagonal faces with green eyes and dark antennae. Characteristic green metallic coloration, long tongue, brush-like front tarsi, and enlarged hind tibiae are visible. … It turns out these bees are a wee bit camera shy and it took a lot of persistence to get this one to pose. Update! (The single sweat bee genus, Lasioglossum, for example, is represented by 160 different species in  New York.) Traits helpful in distinguishing silky Agapostemons from other green sweat bees are noted below and in the photos at right. Some form large aggregations, constructing ground nests in clumps linked together by earthen connections or rootlets. Apidologie 35: 283-291. There are only three species of this genus in the United States. 3a). Females have corbiculae (pollen baskets) for collecting pollen and propolis (plant resins). Photographs by Aaron Mullins, University of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Another distinctive trait is that the trochanter (the top segment) of the male bee's hind leg is iridescent green. The metallic green bees are easily spotted with their flashy green colors, and are relatively abundant in urbanized areas. Parasocial colonies allow for more diversity of genetic material in the hive. The arrival and success of the green orchid bee into Florida without its natural mutualistic orchid has provided evidence that the mutualism is perhaps obligatory on the part of the orchid, but merely facultative for the bees. Orchid Bees Euglossa is the scientific name of the orchid bees. Although females can sting, they are quite timid in doing so. They are medium sized ranging from 0.3 to 0.6 inches (7 to 14.5 mm) long. Augochlora pura green metalllic bees are solitary sweat bees that prefer woodland areas and build nests under bark in rotting trees. Augochlora pura green metallic bees continue to pollinate the park's late-blooming asters and goldenrod through mid-fall. See also our galleries of New Native Bee Photos.. CLICK on the images or links below to see: -- larger images and -- other photographs of that bee. 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