Have you heard the buzz?
Lone Pine has recently flicked on the “vacancy” signs at our brand-new native bee hotel, and prospective tenants are making a bee-line to book in.
When we think of bees, we usually picture the European honey bee, but did you know that Australia is home to over 1,700 species of native bees, 11 of which are completely stingless? Ranging in size, shape and colour, our native bees make up an incredibly diverse bunch. Even their social lives are varied, with some species living in hives, while many prefer to fly solo and raise their young in underground burrows or timber hollows.
"Roughly one-third of the world’s crops rely on bees for pollination"
All bees play an essential role in our ecosystem as pollinators for both agriculture and native flora. Roughly one-third of the world’s crops rely on bees for pollination. As it turns out, some of our native bees are even more effective pollinators of certain plants than the honey bee. They can perform a fascinating feat called “buzz pollination” which involves vibrating flowers at a certain frequency to release more pollen.
Threats such as habitat loss, insecticide use, and climate change are causing bee numbers to fall at an alarming rate. Bees help us in so many ways, and now, more than ever, we need to return the favour. At Lone Pine, we are doing our part by providing a cosy home for native bees in the form of ‘bee hotels’. By attracting more of these native-super-pollinators we are in turn increasing the biodiversity of our natural area through increased pollination of native plants. To cater for the diverse needs of the native bees in our area, the head of Lone Pine’s gardens team (and big-time bee enthusiast), Kurt Walker, has created a range of bee hotels, specifically designed to entice multiple species. Blue banded bees, for example, prefer to nest in shallow burrows in the dirt, so clay nesting holes have been incorporated to provide a cosy room for them, while wood has been provided for those species who prefer to hunker down in timber.
Creating your own “bee hotel” at home is an easy and fun way to not only encourage bees to visit but entice them to stick around. Aussiebee.com.au provides a great step-by-step guide to building your own bee hotel: https://www.aussiebee.com.au/bee-hotel-building-tips.html