When most Australian's think of bees they think of the European Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera). The European Honey Bee is an introduced species which was brought over to Australia in the early 1820's. Here at RNB, when we talk about Australian native bees we are referring to any of the 1600+ species of bee naturally occurring in Australia.
Native bees come in a vast array of shapes and sizes; some are tiny and black, some are fat and fluffy, whilst others are easily mistaken for wasps or even bumblebees - another introduced bee living in Tasmania. Not only does their physical appearance vary but so does their nesting preferences. Did you know that over 70% of our bees build their nests in the ground!
If you love enjoying the beauty of native bees, I suggest the book: Bees of Australia – by James Dorey or even a poster by Gina Cranson beautifully illustrating some commonly observed bees in your State.
If you want to know more about identifying native bees, check out the book: A Guide to Native Bees by Terry Houston.
Of the 1600+ native bee species there are 11 species of social stingless bee. Like the name suggests, they are stingless! A colony of stingless bees can be kept in a box and placed in your backyard, school or workplace. To keep a hive requires special care and The Australian Native Bee Book by Tim Heard is a great place to learn about how to care for your colony.
Caring for native bees is highly rewarding and beneficial to the pollination of your locally native plants. This is only a very small look into the world of native bees and if you want to get started or you're looking for a gift for someone, checkout our native beekeeper bundle.