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Native Bees

Here is a hive of a native stingless bee of the family Apidae. These tiny bees are approximately 4mm long and all black, so tend to be mistaken for flies. There are 11 different varieties that look like this. This particular hive is on a property owned by one of our operators who has a passion for saving native bees. Due to world bee populations declining due to Hive Blight there is a concerted effort needed to “Save the Bees”. Bees are an integral part of our food chain as they pollinate all of the crops that we enjoy to eat… as well as providing us with honey, honeycomb and bees wax.

Native Bees aren’t very prolific honey producers but they still provide a vital role in the food chain and the preservation of many native species of plants and trees. There are 1700 species of native bees to Australia. They come in a variety of colours including Black, Yellow, Red, Metallic Green and even black with blue polka dots.

A few of the interesting native bees are the Teddy Bear Bee. This little chubby furry looking bee is unique to our generally thought of bee behaviour as it is a solitary creature. (Not hive creators like the honey bee we learn about in school) Each female builds an individual nest for herself in a small burrow in the soil. Though you can often find multiple nests in the same area. These bees are 7 – 15mm long and found all across Australia, except for Tasmania.

Another native bee with unique behaviours is the Dawsons Burrowing Bee. These are usually 20mm long with yellow face markings and a smooth red brown abdomen. They build nests in the arid mud flats of central WA and the only visible sign of their nests are mounds of clay on the ground.

So not all bees behave the same way the honey bee does but they all play a vital role in the environment. If you find a swarm of small black flies don’t spray them until you know they aren’t bees! If you aren’t sure or want us to come out to identify if you have an infestation of a creepy crawly or just a bee hive don’t hesitate to call. 1300 665 665. We will relocate any hives to licenced Apiarists we work with to ensure that the hive has the best chance of surviving and thriving!

Snakes in Suburbia

In suburban Brisbane we often have wildlife that wanders into our properties. As winter closes in rats and mice search for a warm place to set up home (often choosing our ceilings) and this will draw in snakes that see the warm ceiling as a perfect place to see out the winter months… especially if it comes with a ready food source… ie rats and mice… Allan recently found this beautiful snake in a homeowners roof and removed itm as the homeowner wasn’t keen on sharing their home with the reptile. Allan then found some bushland nearby and released the snake into the wild. Placing the snake in a hollow log so it could get used to its new surroundings and not immediately be eaten by a creature higher up in the food chain.

What can you do?

So what can you do about it? Well during the warmer months its a good idea to plug up any entry points… even rolled up chicken wire is great for this as it stops them gaining entry. Block any entry points in walls, brick work and around the roof line. This will mean when the cooler months roll around the rats, mice, possums and snakes won’t be able to gain entry to your roof. Trim branches and trees from around your home to minimise access to your roof for snakes and possums. Possums and rats and mice will gain entry via the powerlines.

Keeping your home clean and clutter free will also minimise the risk of vermin infestation. I have had success keeping mice out of my home when my neighbours had a big infestation problem by using peppermint essential oil in my cleaning products and pouring peppermint tea around my boundary line as mice don’t like the smell of peppermint.

Of course ensuring there is no available food for rodents will help keep them out of your home. Make sure all the food in your pantry is covered. Sealed containers are a good idea.. although I have seen rats chew through plastic, but if the food is harder to get to and the entry points are more difficult this will encourage them to move to your neighbour’s house which could be an easier target. When I had horses we had rats chew through plastic bins to get to the grain and salt licks. So if they are desperate enough they will chew through a storage container! But the idea is to make it as hard as possible for them to enjoy your home… encourage them to move on and maybe see if your neighbours house is more hospitable.

If possible install your compost in a location as far from the house as possible. If there are a lot of grass clippings in the compost this will raise the temperature of the compost and create a lovely warm home for rodents. Turning your compost regularly will deter rodents from setting up a home and breeding there. If you have a chicken coop try to minimise grain lying around as this will also encourage rodents. Planting Chilli, mint and citronella around your chicken coop will also help to deter rodents but of course if the coop is filled with grain and seed this will lure them in!

What to do if there are creatures in your ceiling?

Call your local pest controller to deal with rats, mice and other pests. For possums and snakes it is best to call a specialist in this field to relocate them safely. Identifying what creature has taken up unpaid residence in your home is the first step! Mice and rats will also usually make noises in your walls.. Possums are usually heavier and you will mostly hear them at dusk and dawn as they travel in and out of your roof leaving their dark daytime sleeping spot for their night time feeding on neighbourhood fruit trees. Snakes will generally be much quieter and usually only come in to feed on rats and mice.

Our operators are trained in the identification of termites and pests and will give you a treatment plan to deal with any infestation. If the problem is simple then the operator can usually deal with it on the spot with a simple treatment or bait system depending on the kind of pest your are dealing with.