Native bee hives

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Get to know your native bees

For most Australians the only connection they have with insects is from the wrong end of a spray can. Bees are essential members of our ecological communities and their communities are under threat worldwide. These hardworking insects pollinate our gardens and food crops.

Australia has over 1,500 species of native bee, and the Sydney region is home to about 200 species. Of these, only one species (Tetragonula carbonaria) lives socially, storing honey and pollen in its hive. The remaining 199 or so live solitary lives, and nest in a variety of substrates such as hollow stems, old borer holes and dead tree branches.

Solitary bee hives

The female solitary bee, (all queens in solitary species), creates and provisions brood cells within these nests to raise her young. She collects pollen and nectar, mixes it into a patty, lays an egg on top and seals the brood cell. She continues to do this, pollinating native, exotic and even fruiting trees along the way, until she dies.

These bees are an essential part of Ku-ring-gai’s ecosystems and are almost totally unknown to the general public.

Native bee hives (Tetragonula carbonaria)

Tetragonula carbonaria is the only species of social bee native to the Ku-ring-gai area.

Ku-ring-gai Council's WildThings program runs an initiative where Ku-ring-gai residents are given a native bee hive to help pollinate and to create a positive relationship between people and this native insect. Our hives are normally placed inside a protective foam box on the ground but residents have found creative ways to raise them off the ground or design a 'new look' outer.

Native Bees Tetragonula brochure 2014.pdf (pdf. 310KB)

Waitlist for native bee hive program now closed.

The waitlist for a native bee hive for 2018 has now closed.

Residents who joined the waitlist will be contacted after the splitting season (sometime between December - January) to arrange delivery of their hive.

The list will become available again January 2019 - please note this program is only available to Ku-ring-gai residents.

Out of area native bee hive sales - Out of stock!

If you are not a resident of Ku-ring-gai but are interested in purchasing a native bee hive then please email your contact details, including suburb, to wildthings@kmc.nsw.gov.au. The program is seasonal and we currently do not have any bee hives in stock. However will add your details to a mailing list and send details later in the year.

More information

Go behind the scenes of our Native Bee Hive Program and read the Bee Hive Splitting Diaries from 2014, 2015 and 2017.

For more information on native bees please visit the WildThings website.

Our native bee initiatives are a part of Ku-ring-gai Council’s WildThings program, which also includes Pool to Pond.

Phone: Peter Clarke on 9424 0811 or Liz Gibson on 9424 0618.

Email: wildthings@kmc.nsw.gov.au