Other Animals

3 min read

They’re basically flying jewels 😍💎

If you spot an emerald green bee hovering over a flower, it’s not a trick. This metallic bee looks nothing like her black and yellow cousin, but she’s very real.

The green orchid bee is about the size of a honeybee, and indigenous to Central America. They’re most commonly found in rainforests ranging from Mexico to southeastern Brazil, but recently the bee has made her way up to Florida and decided to stay.

Green orchid bee pollinates a flower
Shutterstock/Antonino Ferreira

The bee’s name comes from his special relationship with orchid plants. Male bees are attracted to the fragrance of the orchid and visit the plant to cover their legs with its delicious scent. This “perfume” attracts female bees and pollinates other nearby flowers.

Their super long, thin tongue can be the length of their body, and is used to collect nectar deep within the flowers they visit.

Green orchid bee with a very long tongue
Shutterstock/Murilo Mazzo

They’re fast flyers — darting from plant to plant, as well as engaging in long periods of hovering.

This airy dance makes watching these iridescent bees a mesmerizing experience. Some even liken them to “flying jewels” or “flying peas.”

Male green orchid bees are harmless, but the females are equipped with a stinger for defending themselves. 

However, these gentle bees would rather not sting at all, and the sting itself is less painful than that of a honeybee, notes the University of Florida.

You won’t typically find this bee in a large social colony. They prefer to keep to themselves, building a solitary nest made out of plant resin to lay eggs in and store pollen and nectar. 

Spotting one of these special bees is an extraordinary experience — not only do they sparkle like a jewel but they pollinate flowers, making the world a prettier place.

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