Lovely and cuddly though they may appear, it has come to my attention that the bumble bee is not that great a thing to have around, in Australia at any rate.
In the process of settling an argument between two 8 year olds as to whether or not bumble bees sting, I did some research. Of course, I knew the bees were European, but I hadn’t really thought through the consequences of their colonisation. Bumble bees as far as we know have not yet entered mainland Australia. They have been in Tassie since 1992 and since then have spread to every bit of the island (and also to islands like Bruny and Maria). More research needs to be done, but they have a pretty devastating impact on native bees, through competition for food, as well as European honey bees, and other fauna including birds. More detail in this article.
Sigh. I’d better hurry up and plant some more native local flowering plants in the hopes of providing enough food for the native bees.