REED BEES (Exoneura)
These tiny, elongated Reed Bees, up to 8 mm long, are Australia's least known social bees! They escavate tiny nest burrows inside pithy stems of plants such as grass trees or tree ferns. Two or more adult bees may share a nest and co-operate to share the nest duties.
Reed Bees have a glossy black head and thorax. Their abdomen has a wedge shape (viewed from the side) and is either black or orange-red. Many Reed Bees also have a T-shaped cream mark on their face. Reed Bees belong to the genera Exoneura and Braunsapis.
Above: a Reed Bee with a wedge-shaped red abdomen and a cream face marking.
Above: the Reed Bee in this superb photo by Erica Siegel, has a black abdomen. Notice the dense pads of pollen that this Reed Bee is carrying on her hind legs.
Above: the cream face mark of this Reed Bee can be seen in this lovely photo by Erica Siegel.
Above: Reed Bees also use exotic plants for their nests and are particularly fond of using canes of the weed Lantana. If clumps of Lantana are removed during Bush Regeneration campaigns, populations of Reed Bees may be destroyed. However, it is possible to save and relocate Reed Bee nests from Lantana. The nests can be moved and set up in a safe garden, as shown in this photo.
Reed Bees belong to the family Apidae. They are found in all states and territories of Australia.