I think the coolest thing I’ve seen so far this year with my work has been a gynandromorph bee! From what I have looked at so far, this carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) has male features on the right side of the head and female features on the left!
I am working through learning more about bee identification so I can take a more thorough look at this bee!
[Image description: drawing of a yellow and black bee saying “It’s okay to let go of the person you used to be. It doesn’t mean you can’t keep any of your old qualities. You can. It just means you’re allowing yourself to change.” in a yellow speech bubble on a purple background.]
Inside look into the hive of Tetragonula carbonaria or the sugarbag bee.
are a stingless species of bee, native to Australia. They have the appearance of tiny black flying ants and, like honey bees are a eusocial species of bee. Meaning that they have a queen, workers and drones. Their social structure doesn’t appear to be as complex as honey bees. However this could be due to them only having been studied for the last 25 years compared to honey bees, which have been studied for centuries.
T. carbonaria produce resin (as you can see in the photos above) for building, repairing and also as defense; entombing invaders. These bees also produce honey, but not much as one hive will only produce about one kg of honey.
These bees also require specialised hive boxes called OATH (Original Australian Tetragonula Hive). This is because, unlike honey bee hives, frames cannot be added to their hive boxes, due to the way they build their hives.
T. carbonaria build spiral shaped hives, with the brood cells in the center (green circle) and, the pollen (red) and honey pots (blue) on the outer sides surrounding the spiral shaped brood cell, where the queen lies in the center.