South Australian Native Bees

A glimpse into their world

Building Nest and nest sites

Ground Dwelling & Hollow Dwelling bee nest sites are easily created.

Ground dwelling bees make their own nests so you only need to provide the right enviroment for them to build in.

Both types of bees like to have their nests in a North-East direction with protection and shade during summer. This helps to keep the nests warm in winter and cooler in summer. As a general rule choose a position which receives full sun during early spring, but gets shaded in the afternoons during Summer.

It can take a few months or more for them to move in, so be patient. Be aware wasps also like the same positions as hollow bees so some may move in. 

Building Nests- Hollow Dwellers


Simple nest boxes can be made to encourage hollow nesting bees into your garden.

This nest is on a treated post off the ground with sticky substance on the tin between the post and box to deter the ants.


 A 160 mm PVC pipe was packed with muddy clay loam soil. Different size straws skewers and a wire were used to form the holes, and left for 2 days before pulling out.  In the right picture you can see where bees have filled the holes.


Bee nests made of different size diameter straws made of paper or bamboo, are easily made.

Place them insulated from the weather and not directly on the ground and face them North-East for protection and warmth in winter.





Kindly suplied by Katja Hogendoorn, Entermomogist at the Waite Campus, Adelaide University




Bee walls can be constructed of mud and nest boxes. This bee wall uses besser blocks filled with mud and poked with holes. There is a mound of dirt at the back, shade from trees for summertime and faces north-east, giving insulation, weather protection and warmth in colder months.


In the top row you can see a bee tube made from PVC plumbing tube filled with paper straws. Bees dislike plastic because it doesn’t breathe.



A few close ups of the Bee Wall-

Leaf-cutter bee nest Bee coming out of a nest

Old blue-banded bee nests                            Resin bee nest          



Ground Dwelling

Ground dwelling bees make their own nests so you only need to provide the right enviroment for them to build in.

The area around a bee’s nest is best kept clear and firm to optimise nest temperature and prevent nest collapse. This can be done simply by spraying out a patch of grass to keep it bare.



In the house garden there is plenty of space for nests. 


Holes can be found in sunny bare patches like in these pictures.






Firm, bare areas of undisturbed ground in the garden and paddocks encourage ground dwelling bees to build nests 











Bare areas along fence lines are great when combined with some plants which flower over a few months.

In farming, minimum tillage with knife points reduces the area of soil disturbed. Ground dwelling bees have been found in the middle of paddocks where this style of farming is practiced.