Just in case anyone is wondering about the little house which has just appeared perched on the gum tree by the aquaponics - it's a native bee house. These bees are solitary, not the social stingless ones and solitary bees do not store any honey in their little nests but only collect tiny amounts of nectar to feed their young.
Colin built this over Easter (great what you can get done when you don't go away!) and attached it to the tree yesterday.
Some brief info about native bees (from www.aussiebee.com.au):
Nearly all of Australia’s 1,500 or more native bee species are solitary. Solitary bees do not have queens, workers and drones. Instead in most species, just one female bee mates and then builds an individual nest for her eggs, just like a bird does.
Blue banded bees, leafcutter bees and teddy bear bees are examples of solitary bees. Solitary bees do not store any honey in their tiny nests.
Australia has over 1,500 species of native bees. Only eleven of these species are stingless! These are the social native bees, Tetragonula and Austroplebeia.
All the other native bee species in Australia can sting. Most are too small to deliver an effective sting and Australian native bees are not aggressive. However, if one of the larger native bees is picked up or trodden on, it could be quite capable of stinging.
Most stings are not as painful as those of a bull ant or paper wasp and last only a few minutes. However, a native bee can sting more than once and it is possible to be allergic to the sting of a native bee. So please treat native bees with respect.
More info at Aussie Bee
Let's hope the house gets lots of tenants!
Happy bee watching