Image Above: Thyreus decorus blue and black banded bee in Japan. Photo Credit: Harum.Koh License CC-BY-SA-2.0.

A rare species of blue bees called Thyreus decorus are said to bring happiness to people who see them. These unique bees can be found in the Fukuoka Prefectural Central Park in the southwest Japanese city of Kitakyushu’s Kokurakita Ward every summer. They remain visible through late September most years. The bees are there again now and can be viewed buzzing around colorful flowers.

The park’s administrative office has announced that a group of about 10 or so blue bees are extracting nectar from golden dewdrop, golden lace, sulfur cosmos, and other flower varieties in the flower beds of the park.

This 0:41-second video by Kiokuima shows the Thyreus decorus:  



The Thyreus decorus bee truly stands apart from other bees in the area, because of the blue and black banded stripes and bold markings.  The bee measures 1 to 1.5 centimeters in length.

This bee does not make a nest of its own. According to Wikipedia, this is an Old World genus of bees that is commonly known as cuckoo bees. This means they are cleptoparasites of other bee species, mostly in the genus Amegilla, which is a large genus of bees. Several Amegilla species have blue metallic bands on the abdomens, and rarely live above 45 degrees north of the equator. 

Areas where this bee is still seen are the western island of Shikoku, the Kyushu region of southwest Japan and the main island of Honshu. There used to be more of them, but farm developments and other factors have greatly reduced the number of these bees that can still be found.

The first half of this 2:14-minute video, once you get past the Japanese writing, has some stunning footage of this blue and black banded bee interacting with flowers:



Even if you don't speak Japanese, this short video is worth watching for the stunning visuals.

To see a nice photo of some of these Japanese blue banded bees click here.