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It's a natural spectacle - awakening of the humble native bee

By Ben Sims
1 September, 2017

AdobeStock_22912990_Preview.jpegWhilst other native animals like Honeyeaters are active all throughout winter there is one important little guy who has spent most of the winter months in a cosy little nest. As the title suggests I am referring to native bees. These guys are mainly solitary, mainly live below ground in holes, between pavers, anywhere that is the right space to lay/create a nest. They also make their nests in pithy stems, drilled holes, hollow stems like bamboo and lantana and the soft mortar of brick walls. 

Now finding these guys can take some practise but once you train your eye you can see them all the time. Some are so small you might need a magnifying lens to see any detail however some are much bigger and easy to see. A common bee that is attractive and easy to start with is the Blue banded bee. This bee can be seen on many plants like Westringias or other members of the Lamiaceae like Snake bush (Hemiandra pungens), and the mint bushes - Prostanthera sp. Other non-native plants Lamiaceae plants like Rosemary can also attract them but they are by no means limited to Lamiaceae plants.

If you get carried away in your new-found hobby of bee spotting there are many various levels of difficulty as a bee may not be a bee. It may appear superficially like one but if you look at it more closely it could actually be a native fly like a hoverfly. Luckily there are many enthusiasts like Faye Arcaro and the Facebook groups that she runs that are more than happy to help. Just search Native Bees of Western Australia or Insects of Perth and the South West Western Australia. All you need to do is post a photo and help will arrive shortly.