Last week saw a un-beelievable turn-out at the Kalannie CRC for the town’s first Native Bee Workshop organised by NACC and the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group. Community members made a bee-line for the CRC – to learn how to build their own bee hotels, why native bees are important, and what they can do to help.
The afternoon kicked-off with a delicious afternoon tea provided by the Kalannie CRC, which gave everyone – young and young at heart – lots of bee-ute energy to tackle the hands-on and information-filled workshop.
Leading the way, NACC Bushcare Officer Vanessa Brown, put her best bee hat on for the day and presented on ‘all you ever wanted to know and more’ about native bees. Vanessa said that while honeybees get a lot of the buzz these days, native bees are facing many of the same problems – such as habitat loss, pesticides impact, and a lack of flower sources (to name a few). Native bees are also important pollinators, and are quite adept at pollinating many native flowers and crops.
Vanesa spoke about some of the different species of bees found in WA, including the Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla sp.).
“The Blue-banded Bee is often known as the ‘head banging bee’ due its unique mode of pollination, where it vibrates and bangs its head on the flower’s anther to collect pollen.”
Participants then learnt about how they can help bees in their backyard. This included planting a wide range of native flowering plants, having a water source (the best option is a shallow bowl of water with pebbles, or wet sand, as bees can drown), and providing habitat – somewhere to live. One bee-autiful option for the latter is a bee hotel which can provide a place for certain native bees that typically like to build their nests and lay their eggs in wood.
And this is when things got really exciting at the workshop, as participants rolled-up their sleeve, picked-up their tools, and got hands-on to make their native bees a home (or hotel) to live in.
It was all smiles by the end of the workshop, as everyone took home their decorated native bee hotels, already talking excitedly in anticipation of catching a first glimpse of a native bee that might come to visit.
Vanessa said she was thrilled that the workshop was such a success.
“All of the children were eager to learn about native bees, and put a lot of effort into making their hotels saying they were looking forward to welcoming the bees visiting their garden. Thank you to everyone who came out and shared your passion for the bees,” she said.
This event was supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council and Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.