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NATIVE BEES - hive is dead, long live the new hive!

Above 18/07/11 - winter.

Recently bought my first native bee hive from Ingrid at City Chicks (ex Nambour Show) and am very excited to have them in the garden at last, as it's long been on my wish list.

Have yet to see the actual bees at work as I leave before they are warmed up enough to come out and I get home after dark.

My daughter Clare was home one day though and I asked her to check them out (starting to worry about their welfare) and she assures me they come out around 10am when the sun has warmed the hive and have been visiting my flowers (pawpaw, lettuce etc).

She has taken some footage which I am yet to see.


Previous discussion:


Info from Anne Gibson:

Novice Beekeeper

Native Bee tips

Videos Greenjourney website


If anyone has experience with native bees please feel free to add to the discussion.


A few days ago I noticed much less bees coming and going from the hive. Yesterday I buckled and cut it open to find maggots, running flys and very few bees. I cleaned out as much of the infested material as I could and put it back together, but my Australian Stingless Bees book suggested they were Phorid flys and there wasn't much I could do to save the hive.

Today I noticed ants coming and going from the entrance so opened it again. No bees at all and just a maggoty mess with these flies running around. Ingrid from City Chicks comiserated but didn't have any suggestions. I'm waiting on a response from Tim Heard.



Tony has replaced my hive :) with one that is thriving and active.

Such a pleasure to sit and watch them - the little gray "babies" guarding the entrances and the older ones coming and going with pollen sacs laden with pale, yellow or orange pollen.

They even seem to do a little dance at the entrance - I'm supposing this is like the honey bee dance to alert other bees to the direction and quantity of pollen available.


Bob Luttrall from Australian Native Bees has devised this external Phorid fly trap:

This is a different take on phorid fly control. The bait is a mixture of golden syrup, vinegar and a little sugar. The tube simly has a number of holes drilled into it, about 3mm, and the tube hung at the front of the box. In this case, the phorid flies were attracted to the top less used entrance, presumablly scents were emanating from that source. Some phorid eggs were actually laid on the entrance. it is unknown whether they can penetrate. Clearly the trap is very effective. The box was moved from its original home to a site remote from my colonies, hard to find, for treatment expecting dissection of brood. Highvale, Qld 25-10-2011 Highvale

Posted by Bob

To link to this picture quote

Below is my own version of the phorid fly trap (has a clump of cerumen on the lid) baited with vinegar and golden syrup. Anything sweet can be used apparently. When it finally dried out after a couple of weeks it had quite a lot of dead insect bodies at the bottom, mostly ant from what I could tell (tiny).

Some links for native bees:

The Aussie Bee site is the premier website in Australia (and the world!?) on native bees. It provides a lot of free native bee information in addition to the booklet series mentioned above (

Want to see native bees in a Bee Sanctuary close to Sydney?(

Russell and Janine Zabel’s website on Australian native bees provides a wealth of interesting information (

Mark and Kim Grosskopf were the first to provide a service a renting hives of stingless bees for pollination (

Chris Fuller rents hives of stingless bees for pollination ( /).

Steve Maginnity provides a number of educational resources for stingless bees,

Joe Tinson rescues bees in the Maryborough region( /).

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Comment by Lissa on July 22, 2011 at 18:56
A milk bottle lid halved is pretty small. Is this correct?

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