The Rockdale Library is home to about 10,000 Australian native bees living in a custom designed bee house on the second level balcony.
These small, stingless Tetragonula bees produce ‘sugarbag’ honey — good bush tucker — that was prized by Aboriginals who collected it from wild nests. Due to their tiny size they only produce a small amount of honey compared to European bees.
There are about 1600 different species of native bees in Australia but only a few make hives like Tetragonula bees. Most natives are solitary and live in burrows in the ground, holes in tree trunks or crevices in rocks.
Native bees are an important part of our environment, they pollinate native plants and are a food source for other native animals. Increasingly their importance as crop pollinators is becoming better understood as colony collapse syndrome decimates honey bee populations.
You can help support native bees by planting a variety of summer and winter flowering plants in your garden, create solitary native bee habitat by building a 'bee hotel' or by simply leaving areas of bare earth in your garden.
Tetragonula carbonaria hives are quite small about the size of a shoe box and placed in the right spot require very little maintenance. By hosting a hive of native bees you will be adding to the local biodiversity and have some very interesting insect pets to show off to your neighbours.