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Latest buzz on green carpenter bees

News release
30 September 2013

Earlier this year Islanders were introduced to the Green carpenter bee through an article in The Islander and a presentation by Richard Glatz on the bee and other fascinating Kangaroo Island insects. Its size (body length of 2cm) and distinctive brilliant blue-green colour distinguishes it from any other native or introduced bees.

The rarity of the Green carpenter bee adds to its significance. The bee is extinct in Victoria and mainland South Australia, probably as a result of land clearing and large wildfires. Kangaroo Island is its last foothold in southern Australia. Populations are generally low as their colonies are small and nest sites limited to dry flowering stalks of yaccas (grass trees) and trunks and branches of dead Banksia.

There were concerns that the 2007 fires might have reduced the bees’ nesting sites and had an impact on the bee population, so the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife funded a project to investigate whether the bee still existed on KI and if so, how widespread it is.

The importance of the bee can’t be overestimated. The Green carpenter bee is a buzz pollinator and many native plants rely completely on buzz pollinating bees for pollination and seed production. The introduced honeybee does not collect pollen through buzzing and therefore cannot pollinate these plants.Residents and visitors are invited to learn more about these bees and assist in surveying their locations through a range of activities co-ordinated by Natural Resources Kangaroo Island.

Richard Glatz from D’Estrees Entomology & Science Services will present a seminar updating the information he presented in February. The presentation will take place on Wednesday 9 October at 5:30pm in the Board Room, Natural Resources Kangaroo Centre, 35 Dauncey Street Kingscote.The community can assist with the surveys being held on 14, 15, 17, 18 October. It’s an opportunity to join the researchers as they map the extent and number of the Green carpenter bees on Kangaroo Island.

The whole family is invited to attend the Green Carpenter Bee Field Day on 19 October at Flinders Chase National Park. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the Green carpenter bee and other native bees by visiting the ‘Bee Meadow’ and going for a walk to view nesting sites of the Green carpenter bee. As the bees are active in October there’s a chance of seeing the bees as well as their nests. The Field day starts at 9:30am at the Baudin Centre and finishes with a sausage sizzle at 1pm. Bookings are essential.

You can learn more about the Green carpenter bee here or by picking up a brochure from the Natural Resources Centre.

To book a seat at the presentation, attend a survey or the Field Day, please contact us.