Tannum Sands State High School “ahive” with activity

Creating an environment fit for a queen is no small order, but Tannum Sands State High School students can add this unique skill to their resumes thanks to funding from Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA). To give the local bee population a new place to call home, Tannum Sands State High School (TSSHS) students will be building creating a heaven for the hive dwellers.

If you’ve got classes of students dressed like astronauts and wielding smoke machines pictured in your mind, we’re sorry to disappoint, but the bees that the school are attracting are native and stingless.

Native bees are an essential part of our ecosystem and play an important part in the production of stable healthy food. There are 1,700 different species of native bees in Australia that come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and colours – including red, metallic green and even black with blue polka dots! Regarded as the most efficient and important pollinators in the insect family, bees help plants grow, breed, produce and improve the quality of food. By transferring pollen from one flowering plant to the next, they keep the cycle of life turning; while making delicious honey. Food aside, this insect also assists with the survival of unique wildflowers and sustaining the biodiversity of Australian bushland.

Sadly, and despite the important role bees play in our ecosystem, Australian native bees are under threat. Habitat destruction, climate change, disease and the wide use of pesticides are reported to have created a plight for our native bees decreasing their population. However, the good news is that there are many individuals and organisations (like TSSSHS) who are working to protect and save Australian native bees.

Thanks to an FBA Community Bursary, TSSHS students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the many roles that native bees play in our environment and how to care for them.

Creating an environment for a colony of laborers who work around the clock 365 days of the year is no small feat. TSSHS students will landscape an area of the school with suitable vegetation for the native bees. A hive along with an established colony of bees will be brought into the garden to be monitored by generations of students to come. The long-term environmental impact of this project will also be recorded.  An additional benefit of establishing the native bee hive is that it also provides an educational opportunity for students to study insect life cycles, biodiversity, ecosystems and data collection.

If you’re feeling inspired to help the Australian native bee population, there is many ways you can do so. If you’ve got a green thumb, consider planting some bee-friendly plants in your patch and avoid using insecticides or pesticides wherever possible. A simpler way of helping is to spread the word and tell your friends and neighbours about our vital native bees.

To learn more about the many amazing species that live in our region or the other community groups working hard to conserve and preserve our natural assets click here!