There are around 1, 700 species of Australian native bees, and one of them just happens to look like a teddy bear.
Amegilla (Asaropoda) bombiformis commonly known as the Teddy Bear Bee or Golden Hair Mortar Bee can be found in all states of Australia except Tasmania. It is part of the bee family Apidae (which includes bumble bees, honey bees and stingless bees).
This fuzzy little friend gets its name from its chubby appearance (resembles a bumble bee in shape) and its orange brown fur.
The Teddy Bear Bee is a solitary bee, meaning they live alone and not in a colony. Females make burrows in the soil, while males will sleep overnight attached to a plant stem. Male and females also differ in appearance. The male Teddy Bear Bee has 7 dark hairless bands and the female only 6.
Teddy Bear Bees make a loud buzzing noise as they fly. They also use the buzz pollination (sonication) where they grab onto the flower and move their flight muscles rapidly causing the flower and anthers to vibrate and dislodging the pollen.
The Teddy Bear Bee is a similar size to the European Honey Bee and is an average size of 15mm. Another characteristic that helps identify Teddy Bear Bees is their remarkably long tongues.
Another interesting thing about Teddy Bear Bees is that they can go "bald." As they age the hair on the top of their thorax becomes worn, leaving them with a black bald spot.
If you would like to make a Teddy Bear Bee picnic in your garden some of the Teddy Bear Bees favourite plants are:
Abelia x Grandiflora
Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp.)
Blue flax lily (Dianella caerulea)
Twining guinea flower (Hibbertia dentata)
Pepper Leaf Senna (Senna clavigera)
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)