Bees & Bugs

Amegilla bombiformis: Australian Teddy Bear Bee

  Wikipedia says (alongside a stunning photo):

Amegilla bombiformis, commonly known as the Teddy Bear Bee or Golden haired mortar bee, is an Australian native bee in the family Apidae.


Teddy Bear Bee, taken on my Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

LEFT: I’ve had two of these bees visiting my fake jasmine creeper for most of the week. When I first saw them I couldn’t believe my eyes – thinking they were European bumblebees. I was searching my conscience to see how I felt about failing to report them to the Department of the Environment when I recalled reading about our native teddy bear bees. Foreign bumblebees are kept from mainland Australia to keep our many smaller native bees safe. Our island State, Tasmania, hosts the pretty European.

On that first day,I followed my visitors around and around the jasmine for an hour without getting a single clear image, and if you look at the first You Tube video below from Aussie Bees you’ll see why. They just will not keep still long enough!

Aussie Bees is a handy site for bee identification.


Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

RIGHT: They have this weird habit of flying all bunched up like a ball, but sometimes they leave some legs hanging (that pale loop out front is a vine on the jasmine).

From the stripes, both the black ones and the hairless, I decided that they are the teddy bear bee, despite the whitish head. Perhaps they have been breeding with their close cousin, the blue-banded bee.

BELOW: A few of the the blue-banded ones are here, too, looking terrific when the blue glints in the sun! Again, so hard to catch them still long enough to photograph. They are smaller than the teddy bear, but still a very large bee.  You can just see the bluish tint in the image … just!

Teddy Bear Bee, taken on my Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

Blue-banded bee, taken on my Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

And another fascinating video from Aussie Bees.

I found that they sleep clustering on stems, holding on with their jaws, fascinating.


Teddy bear bee feeding. Nokia Lumia 520, uncropped.


22 thoughts on “Amegilla bombiformis: Australian Teddy Bear Bee

  1. All your photos are fascinating, Christine. That first close-up is interesting in that the bee looks so furry and is that a crash helmet he’s wearing? 😀 😀
    Thank you for the videos. How different the bees look and not like ours. 🙂 🙂

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  2. Sue says:

    I assumed that all bees lived/slept in hives. Its a beautiful creature. You may have discovered a new bee if it looks different, check it out you might end up with a “Christine Teddy Bear Bee” (Christingilla Bombiformis!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Paul. There is one image of the blue-banded bee (I hope that is what it is!) in this post. There is another visiting, but it flits about so quick I just cannot get a proper pic, and the bands on it are a really bright blue. I’ll keep trying!

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  3. Pingback: The blue-banded bee is back! | Christine R

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