African Tulip Tree poses threat to Australian native bees

Bonny Hills residents Jim Marchment and Bill Howell.
Bonny Hills residents Jim Marchment and Bill Howell.

Bonny Hills residents are working hard to educate the community on the dangers posed by the African Tulip.

While the tree might look visually appealing, it's causing the area's population of bees to suffer.

Bonny Hills Landcare member Fred Love said Australian native bees are vital to the environment as they contribute to agricultural production through the pollination of crop plants.

Unfortunately the existence of the African Tulip could prove to be fatal to the species' existence.

"The pollen is fatally toxic to native bees and whole colonies and hives have been wiped out by exposure to these flowers," Fred said.

"Look inside any African tulip flower and the chances are that you will see a litter of corpses, with one or two barely-alive bees wandering drunkenly about."

Dead bees remain in the African Tulip's flowers.

Dead bees remain in the African Tulip's flowers.

Bonny Hills residents Bill Howell, Judy Love and Jim Marchment want to raise awareness about the African Tulip, as they say many people aren't aware that it's a noxious weed.

On Thursday, May 23 they inspected an African Tulip in Bonny Hills where they found multiple dead bees in its flowers.

Jim Marchment is a local beekeeper in the area who has seen firsthand the impact which the African Tulip can have on the bee species. He said unfortunately many colonies have been wiped out or become weak.

To combat the issue, Landcare members are promoting the weed swap initiative, in partnership with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

Estelle Gough from Port Macquarie Landcare said people can obtain a free native plant to replace any weeds they have in their garden.

African Tulip flowers.

African Tulip flowers.

They are required to take a before and after photo of the weed and then take the evidence to Landcare.

Estelle said people can bring the photos to the nursery in Port Macquarie from 9am until 12pm on Monday to obtain a free native plant. The nursery is located on Blackbutt Road, Port Macquarie.

For more information or to report a weed please visit council's website www.pmhc.nsw.gov.au

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