Native Bee Resins
I had a comment recently about Native bee resins and I thought it would be good to write about.
Not a lot is known about exactly what native bees collect for resin and where they get it from. But that is exactly why a post should be written about it.
Not long ago I went to a bee function and met with Alan Beil. Alan has been keeping native bees for a long time and spends many hours observing his native bees. Alan told me about how native bees keep resin balls for medicinal purposes. Sort of like a mini hospital for themselves when they are feeling sick. Alan had one of these resin balls analysed by a friend of his. What he found was that this special resin contained:
- anti-bacterial properties
- anti-fungal properties
- anti-oxident properties
I went and looked in my hives and low and behold guess what? My bees had made some. Here is a picture. The dark blobs are the native bee resins that contain the medicinal properties.
I have been observing native bees for a while now and I know that they make different resins for different purposes. Entrance resin for example has the anti-bacterial component and acts as a door mat to clean their feet as they walk in. Under the lid and towards the back of their hive often is a place they store resin that is really sticky. When bees swarm you can find this sticky resin on their legs which is used to stick onto enemy bees. Also, under the lid, you will find may different coloured resins for different jobs around the hive. Here is an example of how native bee resins are stored.
The question was asked, “how can we as bee keepers provide resins to bees?” (thanks Adrian). Well, let’s start by finding out what trees native bee resins come from. We all know that native bees love the Cadagi tree when it comes to flower and seed. The seeds exude a resin that is used by the bees for lining the entrance (sometimes unintentionally) . This is what gives hives their dark entrance. But what are the trees we are not so familiar with that native bee resins come from? The other day for example I cut back a bougainvillea bush and was surprised to see native bees coming to collect the resin.
Other Native bee Resins (Substitutes)
A conversation with John Klumpp reminded me of all the odd things I have heard native bees collect.
Here is a small list of odd things:
- Types of bitumen based products used in waterproofing and automotive
- Different types of grease
- Silicone-based products
- Resins used in marine coatings
Robert Luttrel’s Native bee resins list
I also asked Robert Luttrel if he knew about any resin trees and he gave me a list:
If you know of a tree that native bee resins come from, try to take a picture of them or post a comment about it here. Already Dean has told me he has seen them on freshly cut mango trees and Angophora (Myrtle family). I have seen them on golden cypress trees collecting resin and camphor laurel.
Good story and research Nick