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What Harm Could the Emerald Furrow Bee Do?
The Emerald Furrow Bee was visiting several weed species including Galenia pubescens, which is a declared noxious weed in some areas of NSW.
There are no other Halictus bees in Australia. So scientists are concerned that due to a lack of native competitors, this bee may breed up to huge numbers. If this happens, the exotic Emerald Furrow Bees may:
-- compete with native species for food resources and nest sites;
-- transmit parasites and pathogens to native species;
-- alter the seed set of native plants; and
-- help spread weeds by pollinating them.
Dr Gollan says that, unless we act quickly, the Emerald Furrow Bee may cause species extinctions and irreversible environmental damage.
Fortunately, a team at the Australian Museum, led by Dr John Gollan, has been awarded a grant from the Winifred Violet Scott Charitable Trust to tackle this serious problem. The team aims to find out how far this exotic bee has spread. In collaboration with Alain Pauly of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, they will also work to find out where the bees originally came from.
Can You Help?
Dr Gollan needs your help! He is looking for volunteers in NSW to collect specimens for the project during this coming spring and summer. Could you help to collect bees in:
-- the Hunter Valley;
Collectors' names will also be 'immortalised' in the Australian Museum's insect collection -- their names will be recorded permanently on the specimens they collect.
Opposing the Importation of European Bumblebees
© 2008 Australian Native Bee Research Centre