Cute 'teddies' are creating real buzz around Noosa
SEEN any teddy bears in your garden lately?
If you haven't then have a closer look and you might just find a cute teddy bear bee.
This bee is a large native solitary bee, a little larger than the familiar European honeybee and covered in a delightful golden fuzz which gives them their common name.
Females nest in burrows they dig into the soil and line with natural materials they collect for waterproofing.
Males roost at night by grabbing on tightly to a plant stem with their strong jaws - the bee in the photo is demonstrating this behaviour.
These bees have a special trick - they can use the technique of "buzz pollination” where they vibrate their wings and body at a very specific frequency to make the flower release as much pollen as possible.
The flowers of some plants will only release their pollen at this specific frequency, which is pretty amazing - it ensures that only the right pollinator can do the job.
European honeybees can't buzz pollinate so native bees such as the teddy bear, blue-banded bee and carpenter bee species are very important pollinators in Australia.
If you grow tomatoes you can most likely thank one of our native bee species for setting your fruit - tomatoes are just one of many plants for which buzz pollination improves fertilisation of the flowers.
If you're hoping to spot one of these bees you might want listen carefully for them.
They have a louder buzz than most bees when flying and make a distinctly high pitched drill-like buzz when they are busy collecting pollen.
You can attract them to your garden by planting nectar rich flowering plants, especially those with blue flowers: these bees are especially attracted to the colour blue.
Reducing or better yet eliminating insecticide use in the garden will also help to further protect these very valuable insects.