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A bit of random information
Hubby has always had an interest in bees and is now an apiarist with one hive in the back yard and we are setting up a couple of native bee hives in other parts of the garden. While researching suitable spots for the hives we came across this information about some WA or Perth bees that live in the ground.
As they apparently find it hard to burrow through the mulch, we have left a couple of sections in the garden free of it to encourage them in.
Among the exclusively Western Australian bees is the Dawson’s Burrowing Bee which inhabits areas of the north-west and mid-west of WA and is among the State’s largest bees.
The Green Burrowing Bee, notable for its wholly iridescent green body, is restricted to inland heaths of southern Western Australia. Females are ground-nesting and two species are known to burrow to depths of 2.7-3.2 metres, the deepest known burrows of any Australian bee. Males are `super bees’ that patrol areas of heath so fast that they may scarcely be glimpsed, although they are clearly audible.
At least fifty species of bees inhabit the bushlands around Perth and several occur quite commonly in suburban gardens and city parks.
Blue-banded bees are the most likely to be seen. About the size of a honeybee, they are distinguished by their rotund form and black-and-white-banded abdomen, the white bands often tinged with a bluish iridescence. They visit flowers of many garden ornamentals, both native and exotic, in spring and summer. Their flight is noisy and characterised by alternate hovering and darting. The commonest species makes its shallow nests in sandy soil while a related species in the Darling Range nests in harder soils and may colonize mud-brick walls.
Leaf-cutter bees build linear nests in any suitable hollows using pieces of soft, thin leaves. They cut circular or oval pieces from leaves with their mandibles and curl them between their legs for the flight back to the nest. While nest sites are frequently existing holes above ground, some species excavate shallow burrows in the soil. Many other species chew the leaf-tissue into a paste or scrape resin from plant stems and use these materials to build their cells in borer holes in dead-wood or any other suitable holes they can locate.
Some Burrowing Bees push up conical heaps of loose soil at the entrances of their shafts as they burrow down to depths of up to a metre. They prefer bare ground and often nest close together. Their males may hover about over the nesting areas awaiting the emergence of unmated females. A species with a blue-black abdomen commonly nests in Perth lawns in spring creating volcano-like mounds of yellow sand.