Geelong Native Plants for Bees

February 23, 2020

Save our Bees in Geelong šŸĀ 

Honey Bees are on the decline Worldwide due to

Industrial agriculture

Destruction of habitat

Use of Chemical sprays

There are around 1,700 different Native Bee Species in Australia.

Most of our Honey comes from European

Honey is the only food that does not have a shelf life if properly stored .

Honey will stay fresh in the sealed jar you bought it in as long as the seal isnā€™t broken.

 

Native Bees do not live in a hive like European Bees.

Usually one Native Female Bee mates with a Male Native Bee of her own species and they build a home together to hatch their eggs and raise their babies, just like a bird does.

They do not collect pollen to make honey like European Bees, the pollen Native Bees collect from flowers is to make honey to feed their babies.

 

Ā WHY DO WE NEED BEES

I am by no means a Scientist, but through my own observationsā€¦ā€¦

We need Bees like Man needs Woman to continue as a species.

Most of the plants we eat have flowers which have male and or female bits in their flowers. These need to be moved from one plant flower to another plant flower or the plant will not produce an edible product or seeds to keep the chain of life for our food continuing.

 

HOW WE CAN HELP

1: Stop using Pesticides and insecticides, in fact all Chemical sprays.

Most of our Store bought Healthy Vegetables are not Healthy at all, unless certified organically grown (without chemicals). Tomatoes are the saddest having systemic chemicals on them and in them. Chemical sprays donā€™t just killĀ  Bees but also the bugs that cause problems in our food ( Mostly due to Monoculture) , they also kill insects that are food for birds and other species, some residue of sprays are passed on to Humans. The list of Chemicals on our food is long and worth a look.

Here are but a few foods with killer Chemicals: Unless labelled organic

Most Fruit and Vegetables

All Meat and by-products

Grain

All the sprays, whether it pesticide, herbicide or fungicide are harmful to us and our insects including Bees.

If you have a Vegetable Garden or home Orchard there is absolutely no reason to use any chemicals. Just think about plants in the wild ( where all our food plants originated).

There were no man made poisonous chemicals used on these plants.

Indigenous Australians have been eating wild plants, fruit and berries for 60,000 years. There are about 20,000 Edible Plant Species on our Planet and yet only about 20 species are grown as crops and marketed for Humans to eat. There seems a lot more as Man has bred new varieties from some of them, these plants are called Hybrids, sometimes seen on the back of plant labels.

 

Plants in their natural habitat are not usually solitary, they grow with other plants and they benefit from each otherā€™s presence, they are natural companions. They either attract beneficial insects or keep away pests and disease.

Trees, shrubs and ground covers, all living happily together, provide shelter and food for wild life. If One Species is removed an imbalance occurs in that Micro-climate.

One shrub that will not survive without other closely planted Eucalyptus or Wattles is Cherry Ballart. It needs trees close by to survive, it connects its roots with other trees roots and feeds through them.

The Cherry Ballart tree not commonly grown and sold as it is difficult to propagate. The Cherry Ballart is a local indigenous plant of Geelong and found in unspoilt bush close to waterways.

 

Imagine if Bees only fed on one flower, and the plant that produced that flower became extinct through Human Land Development. What then?

 

If you have a Bush Reserve near you that has not yet been interfered with by Humans it will give you some idea how plants live side by side. Of course there will be some other stuff in there that has blown in on the wind. In general there will be Indigenous plants (plants that grow naturally in that area, are suited to the climate and soil).

 

2: Create a Habitat for Bees in your own spaceā€¦ You might see some bees on your Spring and Summer flowers, however what is in your space for the Bees in Winter? Bees do not hibernate and need a food source through the Winter and cooler months.

Native bees are not generally aggressive, some are so small ( as little as 2mm long ), their stingĀ  is too small to penetrate our skin. Always to be aware, that some people could have an allergy to their sting just like European bees. Native Bees that can sting, would probably do so if you sat on one, or got one down your clothing.

INSECTS ON YOUR PLANTS CREATE BALANCE IN OUR WORLD

Below are a few Insects that are good to have in your Garden

 

Bees: Not only do they pollinate flowers, fruit and vegetablesĀ  but are so focused on gathering nectar to make honey that they donā€™t bother other insects including the good ones.

Ladybirds: They scare away some bad bugs and eat others like aphids, scale and mites. They are a sign of good luck to see in your garden.

Praying Mantis: If you are lucky enough to see one, they eat mosquitos , caterpillars and aphids.

Hover flies: Apart from loving Rocket flowers in your Vegetable Garden, they lay their eggs where the aphids will hatch, providing instant food for their babies. They are also important pollinators, so it is good to let some of your vegetables go to seed.

For a list of local and indigenous plants that bees love check out the list under Help save bees on Geelong Native Plants Website under Blogs.