THE blue-banded bee has buzzed its way to top spot in a poll to find a mascot to represent the Mornington Peninsula’s Gardens for Wildlife program.
The brightly coloured bee, pictured, gets its name from the striking turquoise bands running across its fluffy gold and white body.
This little creature is a big help in the veggie garden, performing a particular type of pollination known as buzz pollination, or sonication, in which it holds onto the flower and shakes its body rapidly. Certain plants, including tomatoes, will only release their pollen when buzzed in this way.
The blue-banded bee is solitary and lives alone in the crevices of mudbricks or sandstone rocks, or in little burrows in clay-type soil. They find bee hotels especially welcoming.
To attract this bee, plant brachyscome, flax lily, hardenbergia, hibbertia and native rosemary in your garden. Herbs and vegetables they are known to frequent are lavender, borage, chilli, lemon balm, sage, thyme and tomatoes.
The shire is looking for an artist to prepare an illustration of the blue-banded bee for its Gardens for Wildlife logo.
The successful artist will receive $1500. To obtain the brief and register an interest, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications close 15 February. Artwork must be completed by 22 March.
The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said: “Gardens for Wildlife is part of the shire’s Biodiversity Conservation Plan.
“The blue-banded bee will inspire residents to plant natives in their gardens. This is beneficial for your garden as you create a welcoming habitat for native creatures.
“Another bonus is that native plants are resilient and don’t require too much work or water.”