Native and non-native
A non-native European honey bee enjoying our native Hardenbergia violacea, the purple coral pea.
Hardenbergia is a small genus of three species, the most common and best known of which is Hardenbergia violacea. This is a widespread species occurring here in New South Wales, also Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Occurs in a variety of habitats, usually in open forest/woodland and sometimes in heath.
Presenting as a climbing plant whose branches twist around the stems of other plants but it rarely covers other plants so extensively as to cause damage. The leaves are dark, flat, glossy green and lanceolate, 75 to 100 mm in length. The flowers, which appear in late winter and spring, are usually violet in colour but pink, white and other colours are sometimes found. The flowers are the typical 'pea' shape seen in plants within family Fabaceae.
Each tiny flower measures around 7 - 10 mm in diameter.
The European honey bee, Apis mellifera from the northern hemisphere, is a species that has no problem dealing with the cooler temperatures at this location. After all, our winter temperatures are often the same as summer days in Europe! Consequently, they are very much active all year and compete with native bees.
Apis mellifera has been present here in Australia since around 1830, introduced by European settlers. These bees visit the flowers of at least 200 Australian plant genera.
15 mm body length.
The western honey bee or European honey bee is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. The genus name ''Apis'' is Latin for "bee", and ''mellifera'' is the Latin for "honey-bearing", referring to the species' production of honey.