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Bee hotel for native bees | Beneficial animals and insects | Gardening Australia

Bee hotel for native bees | Beneficial animals and insects | Gardening Australia

Sophie revisits some prime waterfront accommodation she helped install to provide nesting holes for native bees and other insects beside the River Torrens. Subscribe:

The native bee B’n’Bs are designed to showcase these amazing but tiny creatures that are easily overlooked.

Native bee expert Dr Katja Hogendoorn, from the University of Adelaide says native bees are very important because they are bio-indicators for the health of ecosystems – healthy bees are a sign the broader environment is doing well. When we protect them we protect the whole ecosystem.

Materials used include:

bamboo which has hollow stems and enclosed backs to protect the bees – the bees go in and lay eggs then seal up the ends with resin.

wood blocks with holes of different sizes that represent natural borer holes that some bees use to lay their eggs

clay with holes that is used by many bees that lay their eggs in the soil

It’s important to leave some bare soil for bees in gardens rather than cover everything with mulch and plants as some bees nest in the ground.

Dr Hogendoorn adds that a bee B’n’B is no good without a bee restaurant, so it’s important to also include bee-friendly plants in gardens, too. “Local native plants are the best,” says Dr Hogendoorn. “A eucalypt tree is a resource that has no equal, but not everyone has space. A good alternative is the lilly pilly.”

Bees are particularly attracted to blue, yellow and white flowers. They also like pea flowers, flat-topped flowers with lots of individual flowers (including daisies) and small tubular flowers. Some native bees pollinate plants that honeybees can’t, such as tomatoes, which need to be buzz-pollinated. Blue-banded bees do this by vibrating against the plant to shake out pollen.

Featured bees
Meroglossa sp.

Lasioglossum hemichalceum

Paracolletes crassipes

Blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulata)

Green Carpenter bee (Xylocopa aerata)

Trichocolletes tuberatus

Featured plants
Lilly pilly (Syzygium ‘Bush Christmas’)

Goodenia amplexans

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