Rare “Blue Bee” Found in Florida, After Researchers Thought It Might Be Extinct

May 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Beautiful, metallic-blue bee is one of many amazing native bee species that could be lost forever if action is not taken to preserve their habitat

An “ultra rare” blue bee has been rediscovered in Florida. There had been no reported sightings of the bee for over 4 years, leading researchers to believe it may be extinct.

The blue calamintha bee was found pollinating another vanishing species that it co-evolved with – Ashe’s calamint flower – in a quickly disappearing ecosystem in central Florida: Lake Wales Ridge.

“When much of the state was underwater, higher elevation sand dune areas along the Central Florida ridge behaved almost like islands, producing isolated habitats,” says a press release by the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In these isolated island habitats, one-of-a-kind species like the blue bee evolved.

“We observed a shiny little blue bee grabbing (an Ashe’s calamint flower) and rubbing its head on the top portion of the flower 2-3 times,” museum researcher Chase Kimmel says. “We were pretty shocked to see it.”

Kimmel says he’s scouted multiple sites in Lake Wales Ridge looking for the solitary bee, which creates individual nests rather than hives, but hasn’t found one until now.