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Buzz Seekers: Spotting Your Local Australian Bees

Native Bee spotting

Discovering the Diversity of Native Bees in Your Local Area


Australia is home to an astounding array of native bee species, with over 1,700 different kinds found across the continent. These incredible insects play vital roles in pollinating both our native flora and agricultural crops, making them essential components of healthy ecosystems. While the diversity of native bees may seem huge, this guide will help you uncover the native bee species that likely inhabit your local area, whether you live in the tropical north, the arid outback, or the temperate south.

Australian Native Bees Location Table

Australian Native Bees by State

Bee Group QLD NSW ACT VIC SA WA NT TAS
Stingless Bees Y Y Y
Yellow & Black Carpenter Bees Y Y Y
Peacock Carpenter Bees Y Y
Reed Bees Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Blue Banded Bees Y Y Y Y Y
Teddy Bear Bees Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leafcutter Bees Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Resin Bees Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Homalictus Bees Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Masked Bees Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Major Groups of Australian Native Bees

To better understand the native bees in your region, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the ten major groups found throughout Australia:

Australian Stingless Bee
Australian Stingless Bee

Stingless Bees (Tetragonula and Austroplebeia): Australia’s only native honey-producing bees, found primarily in the warmer northern and eastern parts of the country.

Yellow and Black Carpenter Bee
Australian Yellow and Black Carpenter Bee

Yellow and Black Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa): The largest native bees in Australia, known for their striking appearance and nesting habits in soft timber.

Australian Peacock Carpenter Bee
Australian Peacock Carpenter Bee

Peacock Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa): Stunning metallic green bees that nest in the flower stalks of grass trees and other soft, pithy wood.

Australian Reed Bee
Australian Reed Bee

Reed Bees (Exoneura and Braunsapis): Slender black bees that construct their nests inside dry, pithy plant stems.

Australian Blue Banded Bee
Australian Blue Banded Bee

Blue Banded Bees (Amegilla): Striking bees with bright blue or whitish stripes across their black abdomens, often seen visiting flowers like lavender and abelia.

Teddy Bear Bee
Teddy Bear Bee

Teddy Bear Bees (Amegilla): Rotund, furry brown bees that nest in shallow burrows in the ground.

Leafcutter Bee
Leafcutter Bee

Leafcutter Bees (Megachile): Recognizable by the neat, circular cuts they make in leaves to use as nesting material.

Resin Bee
Resin Bee

Resin Bees (Megachile): A diverse group that collect resins and gums to build their nests in pre-existing holes or gaps.

Homalictus Bee
Homalictus Bee

Homalictus Bees (Homalictus): Tiny but dazzling bees with an array of brilliant metallic colors.

Australian Masked Bee
Australian Masked Bee

Masked Bees (Amphylaeus, Hylaeus, and Meroglossa): Slender, nearly hairless bees with distinctive pale facial markings.

Regional Distributions

To determine which of these native bee groups are likely found in your local area, consult the state-by-state location table provided above. This information is based on records from the Atlas of Living Australia, though it’s important to note that our understanding of native bee distributions is constantly evolving as new observations are made.

For example, while Peacock Carpenter Bees and Teddy Bear Bees are known to occur in Queensland and New South Wales, their presence in the Australian Capital Territory is less certain. Your own observations and photographs can help expand our knowledge of these fascinating creatures and their habitats.

Observing Native Bees in Your Area

The best way to discover the native bees in your local environment is to venture out with an observant eye, especially during the warmer months when bees are most active. Look for them visiting a variety of native and exotic flowers, and pay attention to their size, color, and behavior to help identify the different species.


Exploring the native bees in your local area is a rewarding way to connect with the incredible biodiversity of Australia. From the tiny, jewel-like Homalictus bees to the impressive Great Carpenter Bees, these essential pollinators play crucial roles in our ecosystems and deserve our appreciation and protection. By learning about the native bee species in your region, you can take steps to create bee-friendly habitats and support the long-term health of these vital insects.

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