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Native bees

AUSSIE BEE EMAIL UPDATE Number 12 / June 2006

Aussie Bee http://www.aussiebee.com.au

Promoting the Enjoyment and Preservation of Australian Native Bees

Topics in this Issue:

1. HAVE YOUR SAY ON EUROPEAN BUMBLEBEE IMPORTS

2. BLUE BANDED BEE RESEARCH UPDATES

3. HOW TO MAKE NESTS FOR YOUR BLUE BANDED BEES

4. NEW WEBSITE ON NATIVE BEES LAUNCHED

5. STUDY BEGINS ON HIVE BEETLES AND STINGLESS BEES

6. UPCOMING NATIVE BEE EVENTS

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1. FINAL CHANCE TO HAVE YOUR SAY ON EUROPEAN BUMBLEBEE IMPORTS

(JUST FIVE MINUTES IS NEEDED!)

Now is the final chance to have your say on the proposed importation of European bumblebees. Just five minutes of your time is requested.

The Australian Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association (AHGA) is applying to import European bumblebees to the Australian mainland for greenhouse tomato pollination. A final period of public comment on this proposal is now open, before the case goes to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage for his decision.

Conservationists are deeply concerned about the harm European bumblebees could cause to our bushland, farms and gardens:

--- spreading agricultural weeds;

--- competing for nectar with native bees and birds; and

--- reducing seed production in native plants.

Meanwhile, research on an excellent native bee alternative is well advanced. The Australian blue banded bee:

--- can be bred year-round in large numbers;

--- forages actively inside greenhouses; and

--- substantially improves greenhouse tomato pollination.

The report written by the AHGA to support their proposal is very inaccurate and misleading. The Minister should not base his decision on the information contained in this report.

http://www.zeta.org.au/~anbrc/bumblebee-proposal.html

This final period of public comment closes on Friday 16th June 2006.

Horticulturalists have been again urged by the AHGA to show strong support for the proposal by sending emails and letters to the Department of the Environment and Heritage.

This is your last opportunity to help defend our native bees against this proposal! Could you help by sending in an email or letter, saying that you oppose the importation of European bumblebees to the Australian mainland?

Please email your comments by 16th June 2006 to:

wsm@deh.gov.au

or write a letter to:

Director, Science and Natural Resources

Department of the Environment and Heritage

GPO Box 787

Canberra ACT 2601

Please visit our website for further information, including:

--- suggestions to help you write your email or letter;

--- a detailed analysis of the AHGA proposal with input from leading specialists in the field; and

--- reviews of all the issues.

http://www.zeta.org.au/~anbrc/bumblebees-8may06.html

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2. BLUE BANDED BEE RESEARCH UPDATES

Research on using the Australian blue banded bee for greenhouse tomato pollination is well on its way towards achieving a practical solution for the industry.

Melissa Bell's earlier research at the University of Western Sydney has shown that blue banded bees are efficient tomato pollinators. Read our new Aussie Bee Online article about Melissa's results: 

http://www.zeta.org.au/~anbrc/abol-current.html

Meanwhile, Dr Katja Hogendoorn's team at the University of Adelaide has delivered protocols for year round breeding of blue banded bees and has demonstrated 15 - 20% improvements in tomato weight with the use of these bees. For a full update on Katja's project, visit:

http://www.zeta.org.au/~anbrc/blue-banded-bee-option.html

Scientific papers on both Melissa's and Katja's results have been included in 2006 issues of a high quality scientific journal: the Journal of Economic Entomology. To see these papers, follow the links in the above webpages.

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3. HOW TO MAKE NESTS FOR YOUR BLUE BANDED BEES

Would you like to encourage Australian blue banded bees to nest in your garden?

In another new Aussie Bee Online article, Les Dollin of the ANBRC

gives full step-by-step instructions on how to make your own nest

blocks for these beautiful bees.

To download your copy of this new Aussie Bee Online article, please visit:

http://www.zeta.org.au/~anbrc/abol-current.html

4. NEW WEBSITE ON NATIVE BEES LAUNCHED

An exciting new website on native bees has recently been launched:

http://www.australiannativebees.com

This website was created by Matt and Luke in collaboration with many

of the members of the Yahoo! ANBees group:

<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANBees/>groups.yahoo.com/group/ANBees/

Many ANBees members enjoy sharing images of Australian native bees.

However, Yahoo! limits the size of the images and the overall storage size. For insect photography, detail is important! With this new website, members can permanently store detailed images and articles for everyone to view and discuss.

The goals of this website are to:

--- Supplement the activities of the ANBees group;

--- Give native bee keepers a voice;

--- Support the protection of Australian native bees; and

--- Provide a store and source of information for everyone.

Generally speaking, you need to be a member of Yahoo! ANBees group before you can become a member of this website. However, you don't have to be a member to browse the site. Quite a few interesting photos and articles have already been uploaded by members. So why not pay a visit to this brand new internet resource on Australian native bees?

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5. STUDY BEGINS ON HIVE BEETLES AND STINGLESS BEES

Trigona stingless bees have at least one effective defence against the South African Small Hive Beetles that recently invaded some areas of Australia. Studies at the University of Western Sydney last summer by Dr Peter Neumann and Dorothee Hoffmann from Germany showed that Trigona bees can kill these pest beetles by burying them with their resinous nest material.

However, our Austroplebeia stingless bees add far less resin to their nest construction material. Can these stingless bees also defend themselves against the South African beetles? Megan Halcroft is beginning a new study to find out.

Megan has just started a two year Honours study at the University of Western Sydney - Hawkesbury. She will be investigating the ability of Austroplebeia stingless bees to withstand attack from South African Small Hive Beetles. These exotic beetles are already well established in large areas of the northern NSW coast where Austroplebeia stingless bees are found. Megan's study will shed important light on the likely effect of these exotic pest beetles on Austroplebeia stingless bees in Australia.

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6. UPCOMING NATIVE BEE EVENTS

QUEENSLAND

Stingless Bee Display at Indigi Day Out and Folk Redlands Festival of Music

The Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club will be presenting a display at this Festival and John Klumpp will be showing some stingless bee hives. Come along and have a chat about bees, butterflies and other small creatures in your garden. Coinciding with World Environment Day, Indigi Day Out also offers great food; displays and presentations about butterflies, frogs, reptiles, koalas and bats; plant sales; arts and crafts; music and much more!

Saturday 3 - Sunday 4 June 2006, 10am - 4pm

Redlands IndigiScapes Centre

17 Runnymede Rd, Capalaba Qld

For more information phone: 07 3824 8611

Stingless Bee Displays by the Australian Native Stingless Bee Rescue and Research Group, Ipswich

Cec Heather, Col Webb and Joe Llewellyn will be taking their display of live nests and photographs to the following two events:

Friday 23 - Sunday 25 June 2006

Ipswich Home Show

at Ipswich Showground, Ipswich Qld

Sunday 23 July 2006

An all-day community event with stalls and entertainment at Riverview Community Centre, Mitchell Park, Riverview Qld

Come along and find out about caring for stingless bee hives and about the excellent nest rescue work done by this group.

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Bye for now.

Kind regards

Anne Dollin

Editor, Aussie Bee Online

 

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