The importance of native bees to your garden
Attract native bees to your garden, or even keep a hive. You will reap the benefits:
- increasing the pollination of your own and local flowering plants
- improving the productivity of your garden
- helping preserve native species and ecologies
- enjoying delicious honey from your own backyard.
Australian native bees: fast facts
Many people are surprised to learn that Australia has about 2000 species of native bees that live in all the ecologies all over country. They are smaller and less conspicuous, however, than the introduced European honey bees. They are black in colour and you can easily mistake them for a fly or fruit fly.
Only 10 species of native bee Australia-wide are social like the honey bee and live in colonies with a queen. The social native bees are about 3 to 4 mm long, stingless, and make a home for their colonies in places like hollowed out trees. The rest of the species are solitary and don’t store honey, but still play a vital role in pollination.
For garden beekeepers in south-east Queensland, the two stand-out species of social native stingless bees are Austroplebeia and Trigona.
Garden productivity from native bees
You can increase the pollination and growth of flowering plants in your garden by attracting bees or adding a colony of native bees to it.
Attracting native bees: plant native trees
Some top flowering native trees to attract native bees include: eucalypts, corymbias, tea trees, pincushion hakeas, grevilleas, bottlebrushes, native palms, acacias, angophoras, callistemons and banksias.
If you have a flower garden of exotics, all species of daisy and lavendar are great for attracting native bees.
Keeping native bees: fun and easy
Beekeeping native bees is easier than you think.
Clients of AllRound Tree Services might especially note the native bee workshop coming up on 9 March 2018 at the Caboolture Region Environmental Education Centre in Burpengary.
Preserving native bees and ecologies
Increasing our understanding of native bees and their numbers is also important for ecological reasons. Native bees are under threat from urbanisation, pesticides and competition from introduced species.
Plus, the introduced species face the threat of the overseas parasite, the Varroa Mite, spreading into Australia. All the more reason to cultivate our knowledge of, and numbers of, the native bees of Australia.
The honey of the native bee is known as honeybag. It has a bush flavour considered superior to that of the European bee’s honey. A healthy native hive will produce a kilo or two of honey per year. Enjoy!