Did you know that there are over 1500 types of native bees in Australia?
I raise this as many gardeners reach for chemical poisons to deal with insect and pest invasions. They do this without thinking these poisons also affect the native bees and honey bees!
Bees are in big trouble overseas. With hives collapsing due to the impact of pesticides and diseases on the worker bees, which leave the Queen bees and young bees without food.
At present, Australia is almost completely clear of the Varroa mite and other parasites and diseases.
And, we also have a lot of native bees. These include the native stingless bees, which are the only native hive bees we have.
There are also a lot of solitary bees that pollenate our flowers. This produces the fruits and vegetables we eat. And therefore we benefit!
Without bees, we would have very little food!
It has been estimated that Bees pollinate around 90 percent of the food crop species that we eat. When bees pollinate fruits and vegetables, this enables them to produce seeds. This then ensures new plants can grow.
So, we would lose all those plants that bees pollinate. And it isn’t just fruits and vegetables that would be affected!
We would also the lose all of the animals that eat those plants. Including us humans!
Enough about the bad news!
As I said previously, in Australia we have around 1500 species of native bees. And you can encourage these bees into your garden!
All they need is a pesticide-free garden and a source of food.
Native bees love pollinating any types of flowers. They love pollinating your fruits and vegetables. Also, they love pollinating all our native plants.
Worried about being stung?
Many of the solitary native bees are capable of stinging you. I have lots of the solitary native bees, including Blue-banded bees and Carpenter bees. However, they seem to avoid contact with humans and everything I have read says that they are a lot more laid-back than honey bees! This is good news as the Carpenter bee is around 2.5cm big. I would imagine it would pack quite a punch if it stung you!
I also have a lot of the native hive bees in my garden. These are known as stingless bees, because they don’t sting! They can bite you if you invade their hive but they can’t inject a poison!
This was one of the first things that attracted me to the native bees. I am allergic to bee stings! But several plants in my garden were not being pollinated so I knew that I needed to attract more bees!
When I heard about native bees that didn’t sting I thought “I must get some of those!”
And my garden has never looked back! So I now have two native bee hives.
All my fruit trees and my vegetables get pollinated. In fact I regularly let vegetables and herbs like lettuce, bok choy and coriander go to seed. This ensures the bees have plenty of food. It also means that I get lots of free seeds and seedlings.
So why not plant some fruits and vegetables to help encourage native bees into your garden!
Happy gardening 🙂
Rohanne, Your Personal Gardening Expert