Providing resources for Australian Native Bees

A backyard garden can become a haven for Australian Native stingless bees and Solitary native bees. It can provide a long-lasting and varied source of the nectar, pollen and building materials that bees need. A well-planned garden can be even better for the bees than natural bush land, where the trees and shrubs may all flower at once and little may be available at other times of the year. Here are some tips to help you plan your Bee-Friendly Garden.

In the urban environment you do not need to put as much emphasis on planting a huge number of foraging plants. The urban environment is like utopia for Solitary & stingless bees, everyone in your street will have plants that flower at various times of the year.

In this Blog we will talk about providing the right plants, for optimum hive health, and other resources to provide, and what not to do in your garden that may harm your stingless bees and other vital pollinators.

 
Planting a Bee Friendly Garden
In a rural environment you may need to provide an abundant supply of foraging plants, because stingless bees only have a foraging range of about 500 meters. keeping up supply of an array of flowering plants may be very necessary in some rural areas.
In the urban and suburban environment bees will forage actively once above 18 degrees for Tetragonula and 20 degrees for Austroplebia species stingless bees.
If you look around your suburb within a 500m radius you are likely to see countless different flowering herbs, plants, shrubs, and trees at different times of the year. So, chances are the amount of planting you have to do is minimal. Avid gardeners will have no issues providing for stingless bees. The suburbs really are bee utopia.
 
Your hives bees will forage of a range of plants both native and exotic, plant a variety of plant species to achieve a year-round food supply, if you cluster plants in groups you will attract more stingless and other solitary native bees than if you spread the flowers out sporadically.
Look for plants with different shapes and colours, stingless bees are attracted to blue, purple, yellow and white flowers more often, but in saying that they absolutely love the red flowers of the bottle-brush aka callistemon.
Your local garden centre or nursery is a perfect place to go talk about native plants for your area. These days most nurseries will have a hive or two of stingless bees, so if the plants are in flower, you can see what the bees are most attracted too, the staff may also own a hive, so will give you great guidance about the right plants for your area.
 
Below are some Non-Native plants stingless bees and native solitary bees will forage from actively helping to make a bee friendly garden


Non-Native Plants examples
 

Flowers

Herbs

Ground Covers

Catmint

Nasturtium

Gazania

Coneflower

Bacopa

African daisy

Seaside daisy

Basil – perennial, African blue, sweet basil

borage

Coriander

Lavender – many varieties

Rosemary

Oregano

Thyme

Mint

Dahlias dwarf – many varieties

Alyssum

Common sage

Flowering Plants and Herbs medium

Texas sage

Salvia

Sunflowers

Buddleia

Nutmeg bush – musk plant

Plectranthus

Abelia

Bergamot – “Bee Balm”

Cosmos

Dahlias – Many varieties

Zinnia

Californian poppy

Mexican sage bush

Blueberry – many varieties

Large flowering shrubs and trees

Crepe myrtle

Camellia

Palms – many varieties

New Zealand Christmas bush

Portugal laurel

Bananas

Avocado

Bee Bee Tree - Tetradaniellii

 

Non native plants examples
Top:Nasturtium left, Seaside Daisy right
Middle: Zinnia
Bottom: cosmos left, crepe myrtle right
 
Native Plants Examples
 

Small plants

Flowers

Herbs

Ground Covers

Fan Flower (scaevola Aemula)

Cut leaf daisy (Brachyscome multifida)

Blue flax (Dianella caerulea)

Grevillea (Grevillea sp.)

Native everlasting daisies Xerochrysum viscosum

Billy buttons – craspedia globosa

Flowering plants and shrubs medium

Bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.)

Coastal rosemary (Westringia sp.)

Grevillea (Grevillea sp.)

Tea Tree (leptospermum sp.)

Honey myrtle (Melaleuca thymifolia)

Dwarf Lillypilly (Syzgium sp.)

Backhousia citriodora

(Lemon Scented Myrtle)

Hypocalymma xanthopetalum (Golden-flowered Myrtle)

Flowering shrubs and trees large

Backhousia citriodora

(Lemon Scented Myrtle)

golden penda (xanthostemon chrysanthus)

Grevillea (Grevillea sp.)

Lillypilly (Syzgium sp.)

Various gum trees and Eucalyptus species (Melaleuca), (Angophora) (Eucalyptus) (Corymbia)

Waterhousea floribunda (Weeping Lily Pilly)

Hakea (various varieties)

Native Plants examples
Top: Billy Buttons left, scaevola (fan flower) middle, Everlastings right
Bottom: Callistemon left, Backhousia citradora middle, Golden Penda right