Trees and shrubs are planted for a number of reasons on farms and in home gardens which vary from windbreaks, shade, shelter belts for stock and birds, aesthetic reasons, pleasure or bush foods. By carefully selecting the species you may also produce an environment attractive to native, insects and bees.

andi Mellis enjoying time off work with Apis mellifera; European honey bee, for the day with an apriast in south western China

Unfortunately when we endeavour to attract native bees we also make a friendly environment for the feral European bees as well unless we plant large numbers of Persoonia. Persoonia’s flowers have developed in such a way that only native bees can access the pollen to the detriment of the feral bees. Ha ha ha.

Again unfortunately data has only ever been collected and maintain on the domestic bee with the honey trade in mind. It is doubtful whether enough flowering shrubs and trees can be planted on an average size farm or recreational area to be a major benefit to commercial beekeeping. There is good reason to believe they can benefit small static apiaries working from their back yards or on surrounding farms. Commercial stocking rates for bee hives is about 1 working hive needs 4 to 12 hectares depending on the plants grown, densities and seasons. This figure varies with the honey and pollen yielding capacity of the flora and this can vary greatly on the seasons.

Native bees need far less area to survive and can survive in areas that are barren to the European bee. The hives are much smaller and make interesting pets for the home gardener. Remember there are 10 native species of hive honey bees to select from and over 1600 pollen flies or stingless solitary bees to attract to your garden many of which people think are flies. Consider these points before selecting species on the basis of honey and pollen yielding capacity:

* Persoonia sp. will attract native colony bees and help eliminate the feral bees from your garden. The feral bee will quickly work out that your garden is non productive and will be less attractive to them. The good news is that while they are not attractive to native pollen flies the native pollen flies working alone will be attracted to the other flowers in the garden that will not sustain the heavier feral bees.

* Multiple plantings of a range of species at different tiers are more desirable than two or three plants of many species and offer food sources throughout the year.

* Choose specie that will grow well in your area. As stated in the introduction to this book have a good look around your district and list species which are performing well in your aspect and soil. When planting in areas where bees are required to pollinate crops, select species which flower at different times to the crops grown.

* Selecting native winter flowering species for the Tablelands and other cold areas is another way to support native bees and deter feral bees. The temperatures are often too low for feral bees to work these flowers efficiently and if they do, health problems in the colony may result. Native bees; especially those that are from the local area are less likely to suffer cold problems. To break into the warmer months the use of Persoonia can also eliminate early food sources for the feral bees giving the local natives a further advantage. Most Persoonia flower all year with a peak in late winter early spring as the weather warms up.

* When planting near drains, sewers, paths, other underground amenities and buildings, consider whether the plantings may cause damage in the future.

* Select salt tolerant species in areas where saline conditions exist, or may be, a problem or required in the future.

* Windbreaks should be planted three to four plants wide. Consider an extra one or two rows for honey and pollen production, and to increase the aesthetic appeal of the plantings.

* Small tubular flowers in blue, white or yellow will help attract butterflies and other insects to the garden which have relatively long proboscis for such flowers.

* Bird attractive plants should be a mixture of dense foliages, at all tiers, mixed with open foliaged plants and plants with thorns, spines, prickles or pungent foliages for the smaller and medium birds to seek shelter.

* The best way to attract birds is to have a safe place free of cats and water stations as discussed in the section on “Garden Friends.”

* Other insects are best attracted by having areas with mulch, logs and rocks scattered along the wind rows or around the garden. These items can look barren at first but will very quickly become homes to myriads of insects, millipedes, centipedes, lady beetles, mantis, green lace wing which will use these areas as safe havens and winter refuges as well as being habitats for small native marsupials, quails and the like.

Tetragonula carbonaria at The Pinnacles.

The following species generally produce good honey flows and or pollen for the honey industry but are also necessary for myriads of small beetles and other insects, nectar feeding birds and mammals that are at the bottom of the food chain which in turn move up to insectivorous birds and finally the carnivores. Many specie have been included for their ability to attract large numbers of nectar or pollen feeding insects. This makes these plants great for macro photographers looking for a guaranteed supply of insects to photograph or the telescopic photographer looking for birds and mammals to photograph.

Native bees have been observed foraging nectar or pollen from the following families and genre were originally sourced from where the data was collected for the domestic bee mellifera specie.

Keys: H – highly sought after, Med – medium attendance, Low – Low attendance.

Acanthaceae – Avicennia H, Dark blends well.

Acanthus Med,

Aizoaceae – Carpobrotus, Disphyma

Amaranthaceae – Ptilotus

Anacarcdiaceae – Euroschinus

Apiaceae    – Trachymene

Araliaceae  – Schefflera H

Arecaceae- Archontophoenix

Avicenniaceae Avicennia

Campanulaceae  – Wahlenbergia

Casuarinaceae – Allocasuarina Low, Casuarina Low

Chenopodiaceae – Halosarcia, Rhagodia

Chloanthaceae – Pityrodia

Cornpositae – Brachycome,


Olearia Med,


Senecio Med,


Convolvulaceae – Calystegia

Cruciferae – Lepidium

Cunoniaceae – Ceratopetalum H,

Eucryphia H

Cyperaceae – Cyperus,



Dillenaceae – Hibbertia H – Med

Droseraceae – Drosera Med

Ebenaceae – Diospyros

Eleaocarpaceae – Eleaocarpus Med

Epacridaceae – Acrotriche,



Brachycoma H-Med,

Epacris H,

Leucopogon H,

Styohelia H-Med,


Escalloniaceae – Cuttsia H-Med

Eucryphiaceae – Eucryphia

Euphorbiaceae – Adriana,





Ricinocarpus H-Med

Flacourtiaceae – Scolopia

Frankeniaceae – Frankenia H-Med

Geraniaceae – Geranium L,

Pelargonium L-Med.

Goodeniaceae – Brunonia,

Dampiera L-Med,

Goodenia L-Med,

Scaevola L-Med,


Gyrostemonaceae – Gyrostemon

Haemodoraceae – Anigozanthos Med,


Haloragaceae – Glischrocaryon,



Hypoxidaceae – Hypoxis

Iridaceae – Orthrosanthus

Juncaceae  – Juncus

Labiatae – Ajuga,



Westringia L-M

Lecythidaceae – Planchonia

Leguminaceae – Acacia L-H,

Aotus L-Med,


Cissus L-Med,



Daviesia L-Med,






Gomphlobium Med,


Hardenbergia L-Med,

Jacksonia L-Med,

Kennedia, Mirbelia,





Pultenaea L-Med,

Senna L-Med,




Liliaceae – Blandfordia L-Med,

Bulbine L-Med,




Dianella Med,


Lomandra L-Med,



Xanthorrhoea H

Loganiaceae – Logania

Loranthaceae – Amyema H,

Lysiano H,

Nuytsia H

Lythraceae – Lythrum

Malvaceae – Alyogyne Med,


Sida Med

Melastomataceae – Melastoma Med-H

Meliaceae – Melia H

Myoporaceae – Eremophila Med,

Myoporum H

Myrsinaceae – Aegicerus

Myrtaceae – Acmena Med,

Agonis H,

Angophora H,

Backhousia L-H,

Baeckea H,


Calothamnus H,


Chamelaucium H,

Darwinia H,


Eucalyptus Med-H,

Eugenia Med,


Kunzea Med-H,

Leptospermum Med-H,

Melaleuca Med-H,


Rhodomyrtus Med-H,


Syncarpia H,

Syzigium Med-H,

Thryptomene Med-H,



Waterhousea H,

Xanthostemon H,

Onagraceae – Epilobium

Orchidaceae – Dendrobium Med-H,

Diurus Med-H,




Oxalidaceae  Oxalis Med-H,

Phytolaccaceae – Tersonia

Pittosporaceae – Billardiera Med-H,

Bursaria H,


Pittosporum Med-H,

Polygalaceae – Comesperma

Polygonaceae – Muehlenbeckia

Primulaceae – Samolus

Proteaceae – Adenanthos Med-H,

Banksia Med-H,



Dryandra Med-H,

Grevillea Med-H,

Hakea Med-H,

Isopogon Med-H,

Lambertia Med-H,

Macadamia H,

Persoonia Med-H,

Petrophile Med-H,

Stenocarpus Med,



Ranunculaceae – Clematis Med-H,

Ranunculus Low-H

Rhamnaceae – Cryptandra,




Rhizophoraceae – Bruguiera Med

Rosoceae – Rubus Med-H

Rutaceae – Acradenia,


(Micro)Citrus Med-H,

Correa Med-H,



Flindersia Med-H,



Zieria Med-H

Santalaceae – Choretrum,



Sapindaceae – Alectryon,




Scrophulariaceae – Euphrasia, Derwentia, Stemodia

Smilaceceae – Smilax Med

Solanaceae – Anthocercis,

Solanum Med-H

Stackhousiaceae – Stackhousia Med-H

Sterculiaceae – Argyrodendron,

Brachychiton Med-H,





Stylidiaceae – Stylidium

Surianaceae – Stylobasium

Thymelaeaceae – Pimelea L-Med

Umbelliferae – Actinotus,



Violaceae – Hybanthos L-Med, Viola L

Winteraceae – Tasmania

Zygophyllaceae – Zygophyllum

Further comments From Members: 

All information is included in good faith and has been thoroughly researched prior to printing. The website or the author does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of any information on these pages, nor does the website or the author accept any responsibility for any loss arising from the use of the information found within. The views and opinions are strictly those of the author or those members who chose to actively participate in the contents herein.

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