Thursday, 28 August 2014

Do your bit for bees

Have you seen any of the Australian bee species in your garden? 

Have bees been disappearing from your yard over the last ten years? 

Time to look into making your garden bee friendly.

“Plant a variety of species native to the area,” advises Heard. Gum trees are great for larger backyards. Palm and grass trees are more suitable for smaller gardens. Most flowering native shrubs, including grevillea, tea tree, and bottlebrush, are an excellent source of food for bees. • In terms of introduced plants, try lavender, thyme and salvias. A broad variety provides a steadier supply of nectar throughout the seasons. • Avoid pesticides and seeds that have been coated with systemic insecticides such as neonicotinoids. • Experiment with companion gardening, partnering high-nectar flowers with vegetables that need pollination. • Provide refreshments. Malfroy recommends “a shallow tray with a bit of timber or leaves floating in it, or a pond with some aquatic plants. Something the bees can sit on while they’re drinking”. • Let areas of your garden go wild. Dead stems, tree hollows and undisturbed soil provide nesting places for native bees. See more at:

For this introductory guide we have chosen ten major groups of Australian native bees. The states and territories of Australia in which these bees have been found are shown in the following Location Table. Click on the name of each bee in the table to read a brief account of its nest and behaviour.

(More detailed information about these fascinating species can be found in Native Bees of the Sydney Region: A Field Guide and in Aussie Bee bulletin. And visit the Aussie Bee Photo Gallery for more photographs of our colourful native bees!)

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