The patrons of the ‘bee hotel’ beside our house include a few female Blue-Banded Bees. This is one returning to her nest tunnel inside the hotel.
Only the females sleep in their nests, however, and I wondered where the males went. Eventually I found one place. The other side of our house is not much visited by me because it has no through-way, but one day at dusk I spotted this lily bract:
It held a male bee, all snuggled up for the night. He was in the typical male Blue-banded Bee sleeping pose, holding on to the stem with his powerful mandibles while his legs and wings rested. Here’s a closer view:
As I watched, the bee, which had been grooming himself, suddenly lashed out with his left legs. There was an intruder approaching – another bee:
The intruder seemed to covet the first bee’s sleeping spot, and tried to move him on, while the original bee responded by kicking out while holding on grimly with his jaws. Unfortunately, I only got these low-grade images as my flash batteries had died:
I returned later with fresh batteries to find that the incumbent bee had moved, but he was still being challenged:
Eventually the intruder took a break and so did I:
When I went back after dark I found that they had settled their differences and were resting peacefully.
Another night I found an equally peaceful scene, this time with no less than four male bees:
This roosting behaviour is common among male BBBs. They seem to prefer sleeping in groups, and jostle for position before settling down. Sometimes they are joined by other species of bee, or even a wasp. Like all male BBBs, they have five blue-white body bands, whereas the females have only four. The yellow colouring on the female in my first picture is from her pollen load, not the bee herself.
I have previously done a fairly comprehensive post on these bees here.