Bees play a vital role in pollinating our native plants, gardens and food crops. Bee communities are under threat worldwide and bee numbers are decreasing. However, native bees are not being impacted by the diseases and pests that are affecting the Apis honeybees. Land clearing and habitat fragmentation and people mistaking bees for flies are key threats to native bee populations.
The Tetragonula carbonaria hive has a community of between 6,000 and 10,000 bees. The hive structure is similarly spiral-shaped to that of the Apis honeybee, including a queen (lays up to 400 eggs a day), 1,000s of female workers (live average 3 to 4 weeks) and few 100 male drones (after mating with the queen die). The workers play a key role in the health of a hive – scouting for food, collecting pollen, building the brood and guarding the hive. Tetragonula carbonaria bees are active in a temperature range of 18-40 degrees. Each day they travel up to ½ km to source food, compared to Apis honeybees that travel 5-10km.
Solitary bees collect tiny amounts of nectar to feed their young but do not store honey in their nests. Social bees such as Tetragonula carbonaria produce a small amount of honey that is stored in clusters of resin pots near the extremities of the nest. They use much of this honey themselves as an energy source to survive through winter. Native bee honey, called Sugarbag, was prized by Aboriginal people who collected it from wild hives. A stingless native bee hive produces up to ½kg of honey a year as opposed to the Apis honeybee hive that produces around 20-25kg per year.
22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400
8:30am – 4.30pm
Customer Service phone lines open 8.00am – 5.00pm
(02) 9879 9400
1300 136 460