MAJOR BUZZ: Great Carpenter Bee.
MAJOR BUZZ: Great Carpenter Bee. Jessica Drake

Meet Australia's largest bee

WE'RE lucky in Noosa to have many different species of native bees living in the area, from some of Australia's smallest species right through to the largest - the Great Carpenter Bee.

These are solitary bees that don't form a hive. Males and females go about their business separately, only meet up to mate.

Females are shiny black with distinctive patch of bright yellow fuzz on their thorax. Males sport a sparser coat of light golden hair.

They are often mistakenly identified as bumblebees, but Australia has no such native bumblebee species and here, in this country the introduced European Bumblebee is only found in Tasmania.

Female carpenter bees drill nest holes in the dead branches of soft wooded trees, earning their "carpenter” name.

Here she will rear a small brood, providing food and shelter for her developing larvae on her own.

When they emerge as adults she'll swiftly kick them out so she can start on another brood.

These bees use the technique of "buzz pollination” where they vibrate their wings and body at a a very specific frequency to make the flower release as much pollen as possible.

The flowers of some plants will only release their pollen at this specific frequency to ensure that only the right pollinator can do the job.

One of the best ways to find these bees is to listen out for their buzzing which, because of their size, is surprisingly loud!

They love the flowers of the introduced weed Easter Cassia as it suits their buzz pollination habit.

If you have this weed in your backyard you can replace it with native Senna species such as Senna gaudichaudii or acclinis.

Apart from being food for the bees these two species are also nicer looking plants than the Easter Cassia.

Senna acclinis is an endangered species so there's an extra benefit to pulling out the weed and replacing it with this species - despite their rarity you can source these native Sennas quite cheaply at your local Landcare nursery.