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Native bees

Find out about some of the native bees that call the City of Marion home and why they are so important for our environment. Click on the link below to find out more.

What are native bees?

Native bees don’t live in hives and don’t make honey. They live alone and build nests in tiny hollows and in the ground. Native bees are not aggressive and most are too small to sting you.

Native bees are not aggressive and are very unlikely to sting you. They are very shy and will only sting if you grab them or poke your finger in their home.

There are around 1,700 different native bee species in Australia, and 200 species in South Australia.

Why are native bees important?

Native bees are important pollinators for many of our native plants. Some native bees can do a special 'Buzz Pollination' where they literally shake the pollen out of a flower. Honey bees cannot do this. Crops such as tomatoes, eggplants and blueberries benefit from Buzz Pollination, which leads to bigger, better tasting fruit. Some native plants require Buzz Pollination to produce their fruits and seeds, and Honey bees cannot do this.

Native bee populations in Australia are declining due to the destruction of their habitat. You can help by building a bee hotel, avoiding insecticides and planting native species in your garden.

For more information visit the Aussie Bee website.

How do native bees make nests?

To make a nest, a female native bee will:

1: Find a tiny hollow
2: Make small rooms called 'cells' inside the hollow
3: Collect pollen and nectar to make 'bee bread’
4: Fill each cell with a single egg and 'bee bread'
5: Build a wall between each cell
6: Seal off the entrance when the hollow is full

Each bee species will build the cell walls from different materials like leaves, petals, or mud. When the eggs hatch they eat the bee bread and grow until they are ready to fly out of the hollow.

What bee is that?

Native bees use different materials to make their nests. You can figure out which bees are using the hotel by having a close look at what materials they have used.

For pictures of the different bees and their nests, check out the Native Bee information sheet.