Solitary Bees



Over the past ten years subTropical Gardening magazine has provided many articles covering honeybees and native stingless bees. As expected, the solitary bees that live alone are now gaining national attention with bee hotels springing up in community gardens, parks and private gardens.

Native bees are natural pollinators of many Australian native plants, along with birds, bats, beetles, flies and marsupials. Many native solitary bees display unique ways in which they collect, carry and store pollen. Some actually cover their whole body with the pollen.

Along with social bees, solitary bees are also under threat due to deforestation, development and chemicals that come from industry, agriculture, horticulture and home owners...and that includes gardeners.

In addition to providing the three essential requirements to attract bees into the garden (pollen, nectar and water), creating a suitable nesting place is critical for solitary bees. This is where home gardeners can be innovative in creating a Bee Hotel.

More Information

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
Fire-tailed Resin Bee  paper liners for holes. [GC]
Leafcutter building in window. [GC]
Solitary bee hotel. [PP]
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BEE ALERT: Slime Outs by Small Hive Beetle

Paul Plant

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Most beekeepers and honeybee advocates are aware of the Varroa Mite (Varroa destructor and V. jacobsoni) which has severely damaged the bee industry overseas. As a result, the way beekeepers now manage their hives in these countries has drastically changed. Luckily, this pest has not yet been recorded within Australia.

However, perhaps just as worrying for local Australian bee keepers, is the way Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida) is already impacting on the way bee hives are managed.

This insect is originally from Sub-Saharan Africa and was first officially identified and reported in literature in Florida in 1998 although the bee industry believes it may have been in Florida since 1996. It has since spread to 29 states of the United States of America and has also made
its way to Europe.

First recorded in Australia in Richmond, New South Wales in 2002, it has now spread north to Mareeba and south to Melbourne. It has also made an appearance in the north west of Western Australia. This beetle prefers locations with summer dominant rainfall – most of Queensland is highly susceptible.

Luckily drought conditions do not encourage the spread of the small hive beetle.

Topics covered in brief are:

  • Why the concern
  • Solution
  • The future

More Information

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Seven
Varroa destructor cycle.
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