Attracting Teddy Bees this Spring
Teddy bear Bees Amegilla bombiformis are one of the many native Australian bees that may be found in your garden. They are a solitary species that somewhat superficially look like European Bumble Bees (Bombus sp.) or even sometimes confused with introduced European honey bees (Apis mellifera) when seen from a far. But close up you can see why they got their name.
It's probably unclear in many urbanised environments how their numbers are faring. Habitat loss, high use of pesticides and introduced competition probably all have a culminating impact. But we can help turn things around for many of our native species.
What food Plants can you provide them?
Going native local provenance plants is one of the best ways to help local biodiversity including local native bee populations.
FOOD PLANTS to consider include:
Leptospermum polygalifoilum is one we see these bees often roosting on for the night. They require often dead twigs on these and other similar shrubs, so don't make these shrubs too neat! They will use live young shoots too but not as frequently.
Help grow their numbers
A bee hotel in your garden provides yet another layer of essential habitat for these sometimes overlooked natives, the bee hotel for Teddy Bear bees best made out of mud bricks. Put a few premade holes in the mud and hopefully you will get the attention of a passing Teddy bee.
Remove exotic plants from the garden?
Before you go to war with your exotics, even the weeds in your garden bed.. observe them carefully over at least a year as chances are the local bees/birds and other wildlife may be using them for shelter or food, of course that is until you purchase or grow your local provenance replacements. Even so do this process slowly and watch carefully, try and identify what's using the exotics and switching over to the local provenance plants. It may take some time for local wildlife including bees to realise their natural food source is back. If the exotic plant poses a threat to local remnant vegetation it may be better to remove it quickly as more habitat and native animals could be lost overall if allowed to invade more habitat!
NO PESTICIDES OR HERBICIDES
This is a simple effective way at keeping yourself, your garden and its inhabitants safe.
We avoid any synthetic Pesticides or Herbicides choosing organic and fully biodegradable alternatives, but even with these more environmentally friendly alternatives we still use caution or avoidance. Often a pest is a symptom of another issue that once addressed brings everything else into a healthy balance.
You are now armed with a few pointers on how to attract and provide habitat for Teddy Bear Bees. Feel free to contact us for more information
Stay tuned for more posts to come