Fun Blue Calamintha Bee Facts For Kids

Georgia Stone
Aug 29, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 05, 2021
Here are some great blue calamintha bee facts that you will love!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The blue calamintha bee is a threatened species of bee that is endemic to Florida in the United States of America. First discovered in 2011, its already low population was feared to be extinct after 2016, after which it was surprisingly rediscovered in 2020.

This insect is found in a small portion of sandy pine scrub and around orange groves in Florida, with only 11 known nesting sites.

This blue bee feeds solely on the Ashe's calamint, an endangered species of mint that can be recognized by its pale violet flower. Due to this, it is named the calamintha bee, after Ashe's calamint plant.

To learn more about this beautiful bee, read on! You can also find more great insects on our honey bee and water beetle fact pages.

Blue Calamintha Bee Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a blue calamintha bee?

The blue calamintha bee is a rare species of bee, which is dependant on the endangered plant Ashe's calamint.

What class of animal does a blue calamintha bee belong to?

The rare blue calamintha bee belongs to the class Insecta, which contains a number of small invertebrates (insect species).

How many blue calamintha bees are there in the world?

Though the exact number of this bee has not been documented due to its scarce population, we do know that it is in critical danger, meaning that its population is very low. Efforts must be taken to ensure that these blue bees do not go extinct.

Where does a blue calamintha bee live?

Currently, this rare blue bee can only be found in Florida, in the United States. It has only been observed in 11 different sites, within a 12.5 sq. mi (32.4 sq. km) located in southern Lake Wales Ridge in Highlands County and in Ocala National Forest in Marion County, Florida.

What is a blue calamintha bee's habitat?

The blue calamintha bee has been observed to make its home in sandy pine scrub and orange groves of Florida.

Who do blue calamintha bees live with?

Blue calamintha bees have similar nesting habits to other bee species, living together in hives. These hives are looked after by a queen bee, who lays all the eggs after mating with male drone bees who do not inhabit the hive. Female worker bees help in collecting pollen and taking care of the bee eggs and larvae.

How long does a blue calamintha bee live?

Though the exact lifespan of this rare blue bee is unknown, we do know that the lifespan of the average bee spans from 30-60 days, hence we can assume that the lifespan of the blue calamintha bee falls within the same range.

How do they reproduce?

Only the queen bee can reproduce with male drones. Reproduction happens in mid-air, with the queen bee mating with a number of drones in a row.

After the mating period is over, the drone's genitals remain stuck in the queen's body and are ripped off at parting, causing immediate death for the drone. The next drone removes the previous drone's body parts from the queen and mates with her, and the process continues.

After the queen lays the eggs, they go through three stages-egg, larva, and pupa. The growth of these eggs is taken care of by all the female worker bees in the hive.

Whether the egg hatches to be a male or female depends on whether it is fertilized or not. Unfertilized eggs become drones, and fertilized ones become worker bees.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN does not have this bee listed yet hence it has the status of Not Listed. Although according to the NatureServe conservation status system, the rare blue calamintha bee is currently Critically Imperiled.

Blue Calamintha Bee Fun Facts

What do blue calamintha bees look like?

Female calamintha bees are fully blue in color, which brown skin in some places. The male is a paler blue and is smaller in size. It has a dark blue posterior and brownish skin. Both gentles have yellow, translucent wings. Females have short, spiky facial hairs on their heads which they use to collect pollen with.

These bees feed exclusively on the Ashe's calamint plant.

How cute are they?

These bees with their round fat bodies and beautiful blue color are quite cute indeed. They are often found covered in powdery yellow pollen, which gives them a fluffy appearance.

However, if you encounter a swarm of these bees, it is is better to stay away as despite their cute appearance they are very territorial and protective of their queen and will attack.

How do they communicate?

Blue calamintha bees communicate using movements and by releasing odors. Worker bees perform a series of movements known as the waggle dance, which is used to point out sources for collecting pollen.

The waggle dance is also taught to other bees, which comes in handy while collecting food for the colony. The queen bee uses special chemicals to attract drones, called pheromones. The odor bees leave behind are a trail for other bees to follow while swarming.

How big is a blue calamintha bee?

The blue calamintha bee species is quite small, its length ranging between 0.3–0.4 in (10-11 mm) on average.

Can a blue calamintha bee fly?

Yes, this insect species can fly, with the female bees having a wingspan of 0.2–0.3 in (6-7 mm) and drones having a forewing length of 0.2 in (6 mm).

How much does a blue calamintha bee weigh?

A blue bee is very small and light, with each bee weighing only around 0.01 lb (0.002 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male bees are called drones, whereas infertile female bees are called workers. Only the queen bee is capable of laying fertilized eggs.

What would you call a baby blue calamintha bee?

Baby calamintha bees in their growing stage are called larvae or broods. They then transform into pupae, before becoming fully grown bees.

What do they eat?

Blue calamintha bees depend on the pollen of the Calamintha ashei (Ashe's calamint), an endangered species of mint found in Florida. It is the only species of bee to feed on this plant, hence is named after it. It feeds by rubbing its hair-covered head onto the flower to collect the pollen and take it back to the hive.

Are they poisonous?

Yes, like other bees they may possess a venomous stinger which can cause pain if stung. Though this stinger may not cause serious injury, it can prove fatal to those who are allergic to bee stings. So it is better to stay away from bees in general. These bees are deadly and dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, being a Critically Endangered species it is illegal to keep them as pets. They can only be kept by beekeepers in hives, as they are not solitary insects and are swarming creatures. Though, it is unclear whether beekeepers can keep them as well due to their endangered status.

Did you know...

With their last known sighting being in 2016, these blue bees were feared to be extinct. The species was surprisingly rediscovered in Florida, with only 17 of the bees being spotted. They are found in the proximity of Ashe's calamint, a plant with a pale violet flower which they primarily feed on.

Unique behavior exhibited by this bee shows them bobbing their head while perched on a plant, using their facial hairs in order to collect pollen for the hive by rubbing them on the flower in question.

There also exists a carpenter bee called the blue carpenter bee which is different from this blue bee.

How rare is the blue bee?

There are around 353 species in the Osmia bee species, of which the Osmia calaminthae is one. It is a genus of mason bees. Most blue bees belong to this genus and are strikingly beautiful blue in color. The Osmia calaminthae is currently Critically Imperiled, with only 11 known nesting sites.

What do blue calamintha bees do?

Bees play a very important part in the ecosystem. They are pollinators, meaning they help transfer pollen from one plant to another, helping them reproduce and produce seeds, which helps more plants and trees to grow.

Actually, it can be said that bees are vital to our planet's ecosystem, and without them, we wouldn't have any vegetation as cross-pollination would not occur.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these rove beetle facts and hornet facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable b is for bee coloring pages.

 

Main image by Molly G. Rightmyer, Mark Deyrup, John S. Ascher, Terry Griswold.

Second image by Tim Lethbridge.

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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