Bees & their role in your garden
EUROBEEAN and SKIPBEES… who’s who in the
Without honey bees, many of our crops don’t produce, or they produce very poorly. Honey bees
pollinate fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables.
Care for your garden as if it’s a honeybee playground. Read on to find out more about both
European and Native Honey Bees.
Don’t use chemicals in the garden. Some chemicals might hurt honey bees. Go organic.s
If you must treat against insects, do so in the evening after bees have gone home.s
Bio-diversity, grow a range of plants that flower in each season so there is always bee foods
Let herbs (and other plants) flower as late into autumn as they want. If they’re flowering, don’t pulls
them until after frost has knocked them down.
Provide sheltered spaces in your garden where bees can get out of wind and rain.s
BECOME A BEE KEEPER! It stands to reason: if more people raise bees, there are more hives,s
there are more bees.
European Honey Bees
Honey bees play an essential role in agriculture, not
only producing honey and beeswax but also
pollinating a vast number of food crops. In Australia,
35 industries are dependent on honeybee pollination
for most of their production. Crops vary in how much
they rely on or respond to pollination by bees. Some
industries, such as almonds, apples, pears and
cherries, depend almost totally on bees for fruit and
nut production. The potentially devastating impact of
exotic pests such as Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), which is yet to reach Australia, pose a
significant threat to honeybees and our pollination services.
The highly destructive Varroa mite weakens bees and makes them susceptible to infections.
Scientists believe a Varroa mite incursion is inevitable, as it has already reached three of our nearest
neighbours, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and New Zealand. For more info on the Varroa mite
follow this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_destructor
Australia has over 1500 species of native bees
Australian native bees are important pollinators of
our magnificent wildflowers. The Blue Banded bees
and the stingless bees already show great potential
as specialist pollinators. The Blue Banded bee
(Amegilla) is capable of a special type of pollination
behaviour called ‘buzz pollination’. Some key
Australian crops require buzz pollination for proper
development of their fruit. These include tomatoes,
kiwi fruit, eggplants, blueberries, cranberries and chilli peppers. Our native Social Stingless bees
(Trigona) are already being successfully used for pollination of crops such as macadamias, mangoes,
watermelons and lychees in Queensland.
Want to know more?
Check out these great websites:
Pic 1 – Social Stingless Bee from http://www.aussiebee.com.au
Pic 2 – European Honey Bee pic by Elaine Shallue (SGA)
Pic 3 – Blue Banded Bee from http://www.aussiebee.com.au