Native Bee Symposium February 2015 UWS

by Jane Anderson

What a buzz has been created all around the world by Megan Halcroft’s Bee Aware project and facebook page! Following Megan’s wonderful Bee Hotel talks and the installation of Bee Hotels in 5 different locations across Sydney we are all beeing more aware of our native bees. David Rae from Upper Kedumba Bushcare Group and myself were lucky to attend a Native Bee Symposium which was facilitated by fascinating Bee experts … a whole day on Native Bees and Lunch – it was a real Buzz! We were in Bee Heaven and learnt so much such as …..

If You Know What to Look For, Dr Michael Batley, Australian Museum Learning about some of the solitary bee foraging and nesting behaviours that might pass unnoticed, but once observed can easily be recognised such as making little slices into Lambertia Formosa flowers to get the best nectar.

‘Bees in Community Gardens’ Project, Dr Tanya Latty, University of Sydney Blue Banded Bee Tanya Latty

Tanya has been gathering bees in community gardens to find out about the diversity and abundance of native bees in community gardens in inner city of Sydney. She catches them (and other insects) in nets and chills them for identifying. From hours of observation something she has learnt is that they Love Blue flowers and they can be as abundant in inner city Sydney as they are in the suburbs! Find out more through her website

Stingless Bee and Wasp-mimic Bee – Nests and Behaviour, Dr Anne Dollin, Australian Native Bee Research Centre    Anne and Les Doolin have been traveling around Australia there whole adult life’s searching for Tetragonula carbonaria and Austroplebeia the native Stingless Bee genus They are tiny and form gorgeous spiral colonies they are ok as honey producers and fantastic as pollinators.

Sydney’s Stingless Bee, Ms Jenny Shanks, University of Western Sydney  Following Anne’s presentation we got to see inside a stingless bee (Tetragonula carbonaria) hive and learn about their nesting behaviour and biology.

Building Nest Blocks for Blue Banded Bees, Mr Les Dollin, Australian Native Bee Research Centre  (picLes Dolin presenting Building Nest Blocks c David Raetured at left)

A how-to lesson on some useful methods to construct an artificial nest block habitat for Blue banded bees in a live demonstration.

 About the ‘Bee Aware of Your Native Bees’ Project, Dr Megan Halcroft, Bees Business  The day finished with a wrap up from Megan how the Bee aware project has grown and how we can all continue to be involved, through bee friendly gardening , bee hotels and spreading the good honey word around about our wonderful and diverse Native Bees.