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Bee are extremely important to the worldwide ecosystems, sadly through pollution and human encroachment the bees are in trouble. Luckily we can all do something to help even if that means passing on information to others.

There are three kinds of bees, Eusocial e.g. honey hees, bumble bees and some stingless bees that live in hives of thousands and have a queen, semisocial e.g. Reed and Carpenter bees who congregate in small groups 10-20 and Solitary Bees e.g. Mason and Blue Banded bees (solitary bees make up 90% of the bees on the planet)

I have an Australian Stingless Bee hive Tetragonula carbonaria, the hive is small (about the size of a small/medium cooler box or two large shoe boxes) and I will only get honey if there is a warm summer and even then only around 300 grams (under a pound). Pictures of the ladies and the kind of hive they live in.

Unlike honey bees who produce wax a lot a native bees use different materials to build their hives, plant resin is very common as is mud in the case of Mason bees.

As is the case with most Eusocial insects males (drones) are only there to provide sperm for the queen and after the massive breeding flight (called nuptial flight) they are kicked out of the hive and left to die. Any bees you see flying around collecting pollen are female.

A bee's anatomy is very complex for such a small creature, they have amazing eyes that can see ultraviolet light and can see and recognize colors much faster than us. Social bees have 2 stomachs, one is personal and the other is social, that means there's basically a little bag with some enzymes that hold nectar to be passed on to other bees. They do this through Trophallaxis ( food or other fluids among members of a community through mouth-to-mouth or anus-to-mouth feeding) in bees it looks like they're kissing.

The Waggle Dance is a way for honey bees to tell each other where the flowers are, each move means something different.

The range of bees differ from species to species, honey bees can go up to 20 km (12.5 miles) from their hives, native bees tend to stay with in a range of 500 meters - 1000 meters (0.4 - 0.6 miles) from the hive unless it's males looking for virgins queens to mate with.

Here's a list if things we can all do to help save the bee.

  • Learn about native bees are in your area, while european honey bees are not invasive to most places they are also not native. Native bees are much better suited to your local environment and thus have less problems with pests and their adaptation can mean they will pollinate when honey bees are unable to e.g. weather that is too hot or cold.

  • Try to plant native: As stated above native is best, this reduces the risk of spreading plant diseases or introducing an invasive weeds, it gives you the opportunity to grow endangered plants that need a helping hand and may mean a lot less work for you in terms of watering and care.

  • Bees can't see the red end of the colour spectrum very well, if you're planting for bees alone avoid said colours.

  • DOWN WITH THE WASPS!: Yes wasps are helpful at getting rid of pests, everything in nature has a purpose but wasps kill bees so if you want to bee friendly garden get rid of wasps when you see them and don't give them the opportunity to nest close by.

  • Leave out food and water: Water in a shallow dish with marbles (so they don't drown) Bee fondant and/or sugar water can be an amazing help to bees especially going into winter or after a natural disaster. If you want to be fancy use a bee feeder.

  • Let your lawn go to hell: If you don't have dogs or outside pets that can get stung or allergies stop worrying about your lawn, flowering weeds are a bee's friend. Alternately use a wildflower for lawn mix you can buy at your local gardening store.

  • Plant with variety: Aside from native plants try to make sure your garden has a mix of thing, flower and fruits and vegetable. This gives the bees a choice of what to collect on any given day. A bonus of this is that lots of bees means less time hand pollinating that plants that might need it e.g. the squash family.

  • Provide as many materials as you can: Pollen is used for protein, nectar is for energy and is what becomes honey and resin is both a building material and a defence mechanism. Try to find a mix of plants the provide these things.

  • Have a bee hotel: If you wish to be friendly to solitary bees, you can buy/make a bee hotel that contain everything a bee may need. More examples.

  • Don't use commercial pesticides/herbicides: One of the main reasons bees are struggling is the use of poison in farming, instead use companion plants and other natural methods.

  • Know your pests/diseases: Knowing the insects, parasites and diseases the hurt bees doesn't just help the bees in your yard, it help the bees in everywhere. Side note: This should count for everything involved in gardening, knowing the diseases and pests that spread especially the ones that are rare can be imperative to not only you and your neighbours but your country's agriculture. Your local agriculture body will have all of this information, if you see something that shouldn't be there contact them a follow their instructions, unlike a lot of government bodies these people have to follow each and every report.

  • Plan for the whole year: Don't just plant things that produce flowers in summer, try to have flowers growing all year round.

  • Know the information for your local apiarist or beekeeping society. If you find a hive somewhere it isn't supposed to be either at home or out and about don't call a pest controller, call someone who will move the nest and the queen so the hive can continue.

Links

  • Here is a fabulous free book filled with plants that bees love, (it's setup for Australia but works all the same).

  • Here's an example of what your local agricultural body might use to show invasive species.

  • Here's how to help an individual bee if you find one.

If you're in Australia and are interested about our native bees please don't hesitate to leave a comment or DM me, I will answer any questions you have to the best of my ability. If you want to buy a hive I'm more than happy to help you find a good hive provider and help you with care.

Bee are extremely important to the worldwide ecosystems, sadly through pollution and human encroachment the bees are in trouble. Luckily we can all do something to help even if that means passing on information to others. There are three kinds of bees, Eusocial e.g. honey hees, bumble bees and some stingless bees that live in hives of thousands and have a queen, semisocial e.g. Reed and Carpenter bees who congregate in small groups 10-20 and Solitary Bees e.g. Mason and Blue Banded bees (solitary bees make up 90% of the bees on the planet) I have an Australian Stingless Bee hive *Tetragonula carbonaria*, the hive is small (about the size of a small/medium cooler box or two large shoe boxes) and I will only get honey if there is a warm summer and even then only around 300 grams (under a pound). [Pictures of the ladies and the kind of hive they live in](https://www.nativebeehives.com/native-stingless-bees-tetragonula-carbonaria/). Unlike honey bees who produce wax a lot a native bees use different materials to build their hives, plant resin is very common as is mud in the case of Mason bees. As is the case with most Eusocial insects males (drones) are only there to provide sperm for the queen and after the massive breeding flight (called nuptial flight) they are kicked out of the hive and left to die. Any bees you see flying around collecting pollen are female. A bee's anatomy is very complex for such a small creature, they have amazing eyes that can see ultraviolet light and can see and recognize colors much faster than us. Social bees have 2 stomachs, one is personal and the other is social, that means there's basically a little bag with some enzymes that hold nectar to be passed on to other bees. They do this through Trophallaxis ( food or other fluids among members of a community through mouth-to-mouth or anus-to-mouth feeding) in bees it looks like they're kissing. The [Waggle Dance](https://askabiologist.asu.edu/bee-dance-game/introduction.html) is a way for honey bees to tell each other where the flowers are, each move means something different. The range of bees differ from species to species, honey bees can go up to 20 km (12.5 miles) from their hives, native bees tend to stay with in a range of 500 meters - 1000 meters (0.4 - 0.6 miles) from the hive unless it's males looking for virgins queens to mate with. Here's a list if things we can all do to help save the bee. - Learn about native bees are in your area, while european honey bees are not invasive to most places they are also not native. Native bees are much better suited to your local environment and thus have less problems with pests and their adaptation can mean they will pollinate when honey bees are unable to e.g. weather that is too hot or cold. - Try to plant native: As stated above native is best, this reduces the risk of spreading plant diseases or introducing an invasive weeds, it gives you the opportunity to grow endangered plants that need a helping hand and may mean a lot less work for you in terms of watering and care. - Bees can't see the red end of the colour spectrum very well, if you're planting for bees alone avoid said colours. - DOWN WITH THE WASPS!: Yes wasps are helpful at getting rid of pests, everything in nature has a purpose but wasps kill bees so if you want to bee friendly garden get rid of wasps when you see them and don't give them the opportunity to nest close by. - Leave out food and water: Water in a shallow dish with marbles (so they don't drown) [Bee fondant](https://backyardbeekeeping.iamcountryside.com/health-pests/how-to-make-fondant-for-bees/) and/or sugar water can be an amazing help to bees especially going into winter or after a natural disaster. If you want to be fancy use a [bee feeder](https://beekeepclub.com/best-bee-feeders/). - Let your lawn go to hell: If you don't have dogs or outside pets that can get stung or allergies stop worrying about your lawn, flowering weeds are a bee's friend. Alternately use a wildflower for lawn mix you can buy at your local gardening store. - Plant with variety: Aside from native plants try to make sure your garden has a mix of thing, flower and fruits and vegetable. This gives the bees a choice of what to collect on any given day. A bonus of this is that lots of bees means less time hand pollinating that plants that might need it e.g. the squash family. - Provide as many materials as you can: Pollen is used for protein, nectar is for energy and is what becomes honey and resin is both a building material and a defence mechanism. Try to find a mix of plants the provide these things. - Have a bee hotel: If you wish to be friendly to solitary bees, you can buy/make a [bee hotel](https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/build-your-own-bee-hotel/) that contain everything a bee may need. [More examples](https://blog.teesforbees.com/how-to-build-a-bee-hotel/). - Don't use commercial pesticides/herbicides: One of the main reasons bees are struggling is the use of poison in farming, instead use [companion plants](https://www.thespruce.com/companion-planting-with-chart-5025124) and [other natural methods](https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1101763/alternatives-to-pesticides/). - Know your pests/diseases: Knowing the insects, parasites and diseases the hurt bees doesn't just help the bees in your yard, it help the bees in everywhere. Side note: This should count for everything involved in gardening, knowing the diseases and pests that spread especially the ones that are rare can be imperative to not only you and your neighbours but your country's agriculture. Your local agriculture body will have all of this information, if you see something that shouldn't be there contact them a follow their instructions, unlike a lot of government bodies these people have to follow each and every report. - Plan for the whole year: Don't just plant things that produce flowers in summer, try to have flowers growing all year round. - Know the information for your local apiarist or beekeeping society. If you find a hive somewhere it isn't supposed to be either at home or out and about don't call a pest controller, call someone who will move the nest and the queen so the hive can continue. Links - Here is a fabulous free [book](https://www.agrifutures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/publications/12-014.pdf) filled with plants that bees love, (it's setup for Australia but works all the same). - [Here's](https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Invasive-plants-and-animals) an example of what your local agricultural body might use to show invasive species. - [Here's](https://savebees.org/how-to-help-revive-a-cold-or-wet-bee/) how to help an individual bee if you find one. If you're in Australia and are interested about our native bees please don't hesitate to leave a comment or DM me, I will answer any questions you have to the best of my ability. If you want to buy a hive I'm more than happy to help you find a good hive provider and help you with care.

12 comments

[–] platypus 4 points (+4|-0)

It's all about those native bees!

And butterflies, and flies, and hummingbirds! Native pollinators FTW!

That's really cool you're raising native Australian bees. I wish American had native honey bees.

[–] Rhapsody 1 points (+1|-0)

We may not have a native honeybee, but there are many North American species of bumblebee, and some are even sadly endangered such as the Rusty Patched Bumblebee https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/insects/rpbb/factsheetrpbb.html

Overall American bumblebees are on a decline, so focusing on them would be a benefit to you AND them instead of European honeybees (which are classified as naturalized and may even be invasive in some cases).

You might have some, a quick Google search show that they offer hives. Bumble bees are American natives, they are used to pollinate crops so maybe there are hives on the market.

[–] shewolfoffrance 2 points (+2|-0)

This was so interesting, thank you! I'm planting flowers that bees like in my yard this year. And yes, death to wasps!

Yay! Watching the bees zip around is so entertaining, especially when they've collected too much pollen and can't fly straight.

[–] [Deleted] 2 points (+2|-0)

I agree with all but I have to disagree with “down with wasps.” As biodiversity plummets there is no species that should be labeled as evil (okay maybe mosquitos). Wasps do not pose a significant threat to bees. Humans do (lol). If you plant a wide variety and native, your yard will thrive for all insects.

One other small point is that at least in the US, letting your lawn go wild will most likely have it filled with invasive s that will outcompete your natives. Any improvement is good and much turf grass is invasive as well, but for maximum benefit you would be tending your weeds!

[–] stern-as-steel 1 points (+1|-0)

Agreed. I've gotten rid of a wasp nest that was right next to the front door and behaving aggressively, but I have ones in the woodpile and in the shed I've let live since they're not causing any trouble. Like you said, they're still a part of the ecosystem. Better to shore up bees and ignore wasps to the extent it's possible.

[–] Rhapsody 0 points (+0|-0)

Yes! You should “let your lawn go wild” responsibly!

A clear pest to watch out for (if you are in the US) would be japanese knotweed as an example, which if allowed could easily dominate a “wilding” lawn.

[–] LepistaNuda 2 points (+2|-0)

Thank you for this.

I try to put things i know pollinators like in my garden. Last year was great, scarlet runner beans, nasturtiums and catnip along with pea and squash blossom to bring them in. My garden was buzzing in the daytime. Hummingbirds too.

I think i will try some bee hotels to shelter the solitary bees. That seems like a relatively easy and worthwhile thing to do.

That's great! I had honey eaters (nectar eat bird) in summer, they are so cute. Bee hotels are fabulous, if you do the DIY route you might be able to do it on the cheap if you check out the waste wood pile at your local hardware shop, just make sure the wood isn't treated.

[–] LepistaNuda 1 points (+1|-0)

I was looking at the pics on the site you linked to...I have a friend who is giving away bamboo and non treated wood scrap is easy to find here, thanks for the heads up!