Unlike animals, plants can’t move around in search of a mate, to reproduce. Therefore, plants need pollinators to transfer the male sex cells (pollen) to the female reproductive parts of flowers. This is called pollination, which leads to fertilisation. Good fertilisation helps plants develop seeds and fruit. The seeds and fruits that feed the countless animals in the world, including us.
Pollinators drive biodiversity, and over 75% of the world’s flowering plants rely on insect pollinators to reproduce. Pollinators provide these important ecosystem services in the natural landscapes as well as within agricultural/horticultural and urban environments.
The world is suffering from major pollinator declines, but through education and events such as Pollinator Week we can bring these usually-unnoticed insects to the forefront of peoples’ thoughts, with the goal of supporting and protecting their populations.
Communities in the northern hemisphere have been celebrating the importance of pollinators since June 2007, however, the seasonal differences in the south has restricted bilateral celebrations.
Australian Pollinator Week acknowledges our important and unique insect pollinators during our southern spring (November). It is a designated week when community, business and organisations can come together to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and support their needs.
Through group activities, community members can learn and laugh together as they help to support our pollinators. By engaging communities in schools, gardening clubs, community gardens, local council areas, Landcare groups and neighbourhoods we can increase awareness and act on our increased knowledge.
Australian Pollinator Week, 2018, will see a new addition to the tea.. I was fortunate enough to have found a talented young artist, Ebony Salama, to create our new ‘mascot’ for #ozpollinatorweek.
Ebony and I worked together to create a cartoon character who will capture the hearts and minds of all lovers of insect pollinators, especially bees. Because, every great cause needs a mascot!
Rita the ‘reed bee’ is indigenous to Australia and could be any one of the 80 or so bee species within the genus Exoneura.
Rita is not a social bee, like honey bees and stingless bees. She is a semi-social (allodapine) bee who progressively feeds her young in a small, open brood chamber.
Rita doesn't make honey, but she is a very important pollinator. She carries dry pollen in special (scopal) hairs, on her back legs.
She only collects enough nectar and pollen to feed a few offspring at a time. Her babies are bee grubs.
Rita nests in the dead stems of both native and exotic plants. She can excavate the pithy centre of weedy plants such as Lantana, Blackberry and Raspberry, or simply nest in the hollows of reeds or rushes.
Rita and her daughters overwinter in their nest and, if the weather is warm enough, they may be seen foraging for nectar on warm winter days.
Rita has morphological characteristics that define her as a reed bee, but she also has a distinguished personality, befitting her role of mascot for Australian Pollinator Week.
The last three metasomal segments, of her red/brown abdomen, are flattened. She uses these to defend her nest against ants and spiders, by blocking off the entrance with her ‘bottom’.
She has distinctive yellow markings on her clypeaus (forehead), made more distinguished by her gorgeous pompadour.
Her black thorax is pinched at the ‘waist’ with an elegant belt and her gold choker highlights her neck.
Since its inception in 2015, Australian Pollinator Week has been celebrated by several communities. However, social media has been the only affordable medium through which we have been able to spread the word. Social media is limiting in many ways and not all communities have embraced this form of communication. Although social media is a good way to disseminate basic information, it lacks the impact of face to face educational techniques.
Bees Business has been communicating the importance of native bees and other insect pollinators, to a broad range of community groups, since 2012. Over this time, it has become clear that people are better engaged when presented with inspiring photos and tangible examples of how to participate in ecological activities, that will support insect pollinators and ecosystems.
To this end, a series of nine (9) digital presentations, along with a script, have been developed to help Upskill the movers and shakers within our communities. Each presentation has a “front end” which answer the following questions:
Then each individual presentation has a “back end” which has its own genre of ideas. These include
There are many links in the presentations to the Bees Business website, which hosts open free resource downloads.
Below are the presentations. Each is named according to the appropriate genre.
The presentations are in a PDF format, which is secured and can’t be changed. You will need adobe reader software to maximise their usability. There is a link at the bottom of this page to download the software.
Please feel free to download any or all of the presentations and share this information with anyone who may be interested.
Lets make this year’s Australian Pollinator Week the biggest one yet!
I welcome feedback.
The following links are to the logos and banners that are being used to promote Australian Pollinator Week 2017. Please use these on any promotional material that you make for your activities.
The round logo is formatted as a ‘GIF’ file to ensure that the background remains clear. Please keep this in mind if you are reformatting it.
The “fill in the gaps” powerpoint is available to create flyers for events.
To contact the organisers of Australian Pollinator Week please: Email.
The images here, were part of the 2016 Australian Pollinator Week photo competition. The competition was hosted by the Facebook group, Bee Aware of Your Native Bees, and winners donated their images to the Eskbank House Australian Pollinator Week art exhibition.
The images were printed onto foam core boards and hung in the exhibition hall of Eskbank House Museum, in Lithgow, for the month of November. Printing was generously funded by the Western Sydney University, Office of Sustainability.
The images have been put up on this page to help inspire people to become more aware of the beauty of our insect pollinators. To venture out with camera, pencil or paint brush. Or simply observe and learn.
All images are copyrighted to the acknowledged photographer.
We sincerely thank the photographers for their generosity and talents.