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Published 12 March 2019

Occupancy rates for Tea Tree Gully’s native bee hotel are slowly starting to climb.

The bee hotel, on a Highbury section of River Torrens Linear Park, was built by the community as part of a big-picture project to improve the ecosystem and water quality of the River Torrens from Highbury to the sea. 

Metropolitan councils bordering the river and the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board were behind the project.  

As a result, bee hotels are now located at various vantage points along the river – all with slowly climbing occupancy levels.

Bees began to move into the bee hotels largely over the last few months during warmer weather, according to Sabine Koolen, Biodiversity Technical Officer at the City of Tea Tree Gully.

So far resin bees, mud wasps and masked bees have been sighted living in our bee hotel, which is largely constructed of bamboo, hardwood and mud blocks.

An added attraction is the bee restaurant next to our bee hotel, complete with nectar- and pollen-rich food plants for bees to feast on, says Sabine.

“Occupancy rates will improve as more bees become familiar with the hotel and as bee restaurant plants mature and establish.

“The offspring of the first colonisers will reuse the hotel and new species will gradually be attracted.

“The more native bees that move in the better. They are essential for the health of our native environment and play an important role in pollinating plants.”

Interestingly, while female bees buzz by to create nests in the holes, they check out quickly

“Once the egg is laid and food provisions of nectar and pollen is placed in the chamber, the immature bee is on its own.”

The native bees we are seeking to attract are solitary and are not aggressive.

Build a bee hotel and bee restaurant
You can build a bee hotel in your own backyard. They can be created in all shapes and sizes, but there are some guidelines that should be followed to give your hotel the best chance of attracting native bees. See the links below to get started.