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From pollinator to poll dominator
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Peninsula residents have chosen the blue-banded bee as the mascot to represent Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Gardens for Wildlife program.

The blue-banded bee, which gets its name from the striking metallic turquoise bands on its body, buzzed its way to top spot in a recent council poll.

Now the council is calling for expressions of interest from Peninsula artists to prepare an illustration of the insect to be incorporated in its Gardens for Wildlife logo. The successful artist will be awarded $1500 on completion of the project. To obtain the brief and register your interest, email before February 15. The artwork must be completed by March 22.

The blue-banded bee performs a particular type of pollination known as ‘buzz pollination’, or sonication, where it grabs the flower and shakes its body rapidly. Certain plants, including tomatoes, will only release their pollen when ‘buzzed’ this way.

A bonus of having this tiny fuzzball in your garden is that they are solitary bees and don’t move around in intimidating swarms. Rather, they live solitary lives in the crevices of mudbricks or sandstone rocks or little burrows in clay-type soil. You can also make or buy a ‘bee hotel’ to make them feel extra welcome.

Planting brachyscome, flax lily, hardenbergia, hibbertia and native rosemary will help attract the bee to your garden. Some herbs and vegetables they are known to frequent include lavender, borage, chilli, lemon balm, sage (bog officianalis), thyme and tomatoes.

“Planting native or indigenous plants is beneficial for your garden as you create a welcoming habitat for native creatures,” said Mornington Peninsula Mayor Despi O’Connor. “Another bonus is native plants are resilient and don’t require too much work or water.”

Gardens for Wildlife is part of the council’s Biodiversity Conservation Plan.

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