AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BEES - March 2015
You may come across these industrious little blokes.
Native bees are important pollinators of Australia's unique wildflowers and are a vital part of our Australian bushland.
There are over 1500 species of "true blue" Australian native bees and they're different from commercial honey bees (Apis mellifera) that are not native to Australia and were introduced from Europe in about 1822.
Australian native bees can be black, yellow, red, metallic green or even black with blue polka dots! They can be fat and furry, or sleek and shiny.
Australia's largest native bee is the Great Carpenter Bee of the tropical north and northern NSW that can be up to 24mm long. The smallest native bee is Cape York's minute Quasihesma bee that is less than 2mm long.
Most Australian bees are solitary bees which raise their young in burrows in the ground or in tiny hollows in timber, but there are 10 species of social native bees (genera Tetragonula and Austroplebeia) which do not sting!
Stingless bee honey is a delicious bush food and stingless bees can be good crop pollinators. So stingless beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular.
For more information on native bees, visit www.aussiebee.com.au
Check out our discovery of a native bee hive on this short video:
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