I was so excited to see my first ever bumblebee that I could hardly hold still enough to take a photo! Un bourdon, or a bumblebee, is stockier and furrier than une abeille, a honey bee. In Australia, the most well known bee is probably Apis mellifera, the european honey bee, which was introduced to Australia by European settlers in the 1800s. However, Australia also has a lot of native bees, around 1500 different species! It’s the tropical sting-less bees which I know best. These bees used to make their home in our garden gate, and are well known for making sugarbag. Sugarbag an aromatic honey that is a traditional food –bush tucker– for Australian Aboriginal people from certain parts of Australia. Growing up, we had a family friend who had some hives and would send us jars of this delicious honey after a harvest.
One type of bee we don’t have in Australia is the bumble bee, apart from in Tasmania, where a species of bumblebee was introduced in 1992. Having never yet been to Tasmania (my next travel destination after I get home, perhaps), this was the first time I had ever seen such a creature, and I was very excited to see how different it was to an ‘ordinary’ honey bee. I managed to get a good look and snap a few photos before the fuzzy, buzzing insect flew away and left me standing alone with my camera, amazed at the splendor and diversity of the world.