These pets are the bee’s knees

A native stingless bee “house”.
A native stingless bee “house”. PHOTO Cath Young

LOOKING for a low-maintenance pet that doesn't take up too much space, won't bite and needs no looking after when you go on holidays?

I suggest you try native Australian stingless bees.

Unlike the introduced European honey bee, Australia has bees that won't sting, making them perfect "pets" for children and safe for those who have allergies, says Cath Young.

The family has adopted a hive of native stingless bees which takes pride of place outside her seven-year-old daughter's window.

"We watch them fly off and return home later with big blobs of pollen on their back legs for their queen," she says.

Worldwide, these little critters have been pushed to the brink by loss of habitat, disease and pesticides.

Although there are hundreds of species of Australian native bees, the stingless bees are the only ones that make and store quantities of honey.

"We only get about a jar of honey per year from the hive, but that's not why we have them," Ms Young says.

"We are doing it because the world needs bees.

"We toyed with the idea of getting European honey bees, but that was too complicated and we figured if we were going to have bees, why not help our native species?

"Kids have a natural interest in animals and Marlo loves them so much she wrote a speech and convinced her school to adopt a hive as well."

Apart from harvesting honey once a year when the hive gets past a certain weight, the bees need little work besides placing the hive in the right location in the garden.

For more information on native bees, visit:

Megan Kinninment blogs the offbeat (and bees) at

Topics:  bees column editors picks pets

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sharing cultures through food

DIG IN: Lockyer Valley Community Centre volunteers at the Harmony Day food tasting

Community centre hosts Harmony Day event

Gordon reflects on farming life in the Lockyer

LOOKING BACK: Laidley's Gordon Niebling says he has loved his farming life and living in the Lockyer Valley.

The self-proclaimed 'Jack of all trades”, Gordon Niebling.

Clare Atkinson Journalism Scholarship needs your support

IN HONOUR: Brightview's Lesley Atkinson is urging the public to help continue the Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship.

Help continue Clare Atkinson's legacy and the future of journalism.

Local Partners