Australian native bees are great pollinators.
In the garden we have a hive of social (as against solitary) Australian native bees. Being allergic to bee stings, I’m grateful for having these stingless bees in the veggie patch, among the fruit trees, and in the general garden.
Our little fellas, numbering around 2000, belong to the tetragonula carbonaria species. They are probably the most common native bees found in South East Queensland. They only travel up to 500 metres from their home, are very small, and so are able to successfully negotiate delicate little flowers. Unlike honey bees, their prime focus is the collection of pollen (not nectar) so they are a great asset with cross-pollination.
Our hive faces north to take advantage of the morning sun. These guys are not stupid, they’ll ‘sleep in’ if it’s too cold (below 17 degrees) in the morning. The hive is beside a lilly-pilly tree which gives them shade from the hot afternoon sun.
We don’t collect honey from these bees. The Australian native social bees do make honey but only in a very small quantity which is difficult to extract. We think they deserve to keep it for themselves.
It’s fun to watch these little guys zip off to forage and return with their (relatively) big bags of yellow pollen, land, and run into the hive.
Our bees and hive come from Chris Fuller at Kin Kin Native Bees. Chris is a great bloke, very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.