Cute-as-heck, fluffy, native bees are emerging from their underground burrows in Western Australia, causing quite a buuzzzzzz.
Every year for a couple weeks in spring, the Dawson’s burrowing bee makes its way out from its home underneath the clay pans in WA, breeds, digs a new burrow, lines it with wax, and lays a bunch o’eggs in it.
But this season has seen a massive increase in colony numbers, with thousands of the cutie-patooties flying around all over Hamelin Station Reserve, getting it onnnn.
Managed by Bush Heritage Australia, Hamelin Station Reserve is a property near Shark Bay, WA, around 670 clicks north of Perth, where over 5,000 bee burrows have been reported.
It’s believed the increase in numbers is due to the above-average rainfall that’s fallen in the area in the last year, which has seen an abundance of wildflowers bloom, including the bee’s two favourite flowers, awwww.
The mating routine can be pretty brutal – often dozens of male bees are quite literally chasing after one single female bee, and once she’s been fertilised, all interest is lost.
But what comes next is truly amazing.
Once the female’s been fertilised, she’ll dig a tunnel, around 2cm wide and up to 30cm long, with a bunch of cell-like sections and little turrets (cause they’re basically animal kingdom royalty).
Then she’ll line the cells with wax (for water-proofing), fill them with pollen and nectar, (ya know, for sustenance), and finally lay an egg in each one, before closing in the hole so the egg can pupate. WHAT A GOOD MUM!
Understandably, the poor lil bee is damn exhausted after her efforts, so then ummm, dies.
But dang they’re cute while they’re around!
Photos thanks to Michelle Judd and Nathan Beerkens Bush Heritage Australia