Native Bee Nesting Sites

With 1,600 species of native Bee described and potentially another 1,000 yet to be described, the concept of the ‘Bee hotel’ only goes to demonstrate our collective ignorance of the Epifamily Anthophila, and in a broader sense, that of the Order Insects.

There are only 386 species of Mammal in Australia and it would seem foolish to create a ‘Mammal hotel’ in the hopes of attracting various Mammals. We recognise that each individual Mammal species has different needs and attempts to assist these species require a considerable knowledge of their needs, careful planning, application, maintenance and monitoring. Recognition of this with regard to Bird species has seen the traditional generic ‘bird boxes’ replaced with specialised boxes designed to meet the needs of individual species, and maintenance / monitoring services being made available.

The concept of the ‘Bee hotel’ can go a long way toward educating the public that Bees, and Insects in general, are an important part of an ecosystem and worth dedicating time and effort to conserve. But as with Mammals and Birds, to have functional benefits artificial nesting sites need to be tailored to the specific needs of the target species. (Note, target species. Not target Genus or Family). Given that we are far from even having a description of all Australian Bee species, knowledge of the needs and preferences of each species is practically non-existent. So while we wait for the massively underfunded and underappreciated taxonomists and specialists to do their research, the best we can do for most species is a little trial and error.

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Species in Your Backyard

Exactly how many species can be found in a typical suburban backyard?

Consider your yard, and have a guess how many species you might be able to find in it. Don’t count any cultivated or captive species. Obviously yards will range from courtyard to acreage, so your estimates will differ. Unless you are someone who regularly looks for life in their yard, your estimate could be out by a factor of 5 to 10. For a more detailed consideration, check out the post How Many Species?. Below you can find some tips of how to locate these often elusive species on your property.

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How Many Species?

How many species would you expect can be found it a typical suburban backyard? Maybe 50? Or perhaps 100? More? The question is a little vague, so lets try to narrow it down.

There are going to be quite a few factors that affect exactly how many species you are likely to find on a suburban property.

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