Kids corner





Native bee habitat

Let’s make a home for our native bees!

Recently on Kids’ Corner we looked at our European bees and how to make a bee friendly garden. European bees live in a community. They were imported to Australia from Europe in 1822.

Now let’s talk about our Australian native bees. Unlike honey bees, nearly all of our Australian native bees are solitary. This means that they are not a hive insect, they live alone or next to others. We have over 1,600 species and most are stingless. Like honey bees, our native bees are very important for pollinating plants, especially Australian native flora species.

BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!  
Unlike the honey bees, some of our native bees can buzz pollinate. This means that when the bee visits the flower the plant releases its pollen when the bee vibrates. These beautiful bees can range in size from 2-24mm long and have some interesting names. Some that we find in Victoria are the Leaf Cutter, Blue Banded, Carpenter, Reed, Teddy Bear and the Resin bee.

Resin bees just love to use insect hotels and bundles of dried plant limbs, stems or reeds. They like small holes or cracks to nest. They build their homes out of resin and cap or seal the nest entrance.

A Leaf cutter female can cut very neat circles or ovals from leaves, using them to make nests or small cradles for her eggs in her nest. You might do some detective work and have a look around your garden. If you have rose bushes, you might see some cut holes in the leaves, these holes are signs of Leaf Cutters visiting your garden.

The Carpenter bee must be a very busy bee, hence the name, they like to carve burrows in old rotting wood.

Teddy bear bees are just like a teddy bear and are covered in thick red-brown hair, they really like to make their nests in soil.

Blue banded bees are the buzz pollinators and are great to have in your veggie garden to pollinate your tomatoes. They like to nest in the ground or clay soil.

Reed bees like to nest in decaying plant material, plant stems and rotting wood.

It’s important to have a range of natural materials in your garden that will attract native bees. Let’s help nature and our native bees to create their homes!

Can you find some of these materials?

  • Sticks
  • Bark
  • Cane
  • Rotting wood pieces
  • Clay or muddy soil
  • Old pots or coffee cups
  • String
  • Hydrangea cuttings or hollow stems
  • Dried fennel stems

Look at our pictures! You can bundle pieces of hollow stems together, or drill holes in old timber. Place a range of materials in old terracotta pots or cane baskets. Your native bees will love them!

Most importantly, have fun and don’t forget to send in photos of your discoveries to operations@opengardensvictoria.org.au

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