South Australian Native Bees

A glimpse into their world


It is easy to mistake other insects for native bees and native bees for other insects.


Bees, ants and wasps are closely related and can look very similar. Flying ants are slimmer than bees, with long wings for their size.

Bees fly in a zigzag pattern and flies move in a spiral or circular fashion. Bees have long, thin antennae and four wings; flies have two wings with short and thick antennae

When looking for native bees, remember not all of them make a buzzing sound that you can hear.

Larger bees have a lower pitch sound than honey bees, and small bees are higher pitched.

Check native plants, weeds and crops as they all provide food for bees.


  This is a flying ant, the wings extend beyond its abdomen.


Sometimes referred to as a ‘bush bee’ this is a hover fly.

Note that it has only two wings, which when it lands are not fully folded back, and it has short antennae.


The bodies of male bees tend to be slimmer than those of females. Males and females usually mate when they are on bushes. 




Hyleaus (Yellow Face masked bees) on a Templetonia egena