Most of us are familiar with the introduced European honey bee (Apis mellifera) yet are unaware of the great diversity of the more than 1,500 species of native bees found throughout Australia. Most of these species are solitary, making their nests in burrows in the ground or in small hollows in dead wood; however, 11 stingless species from tropical and sub-tropical Australia are social, making “sugarbag” honey in tree hollows. Native bees are important pollinators of native flora and a vital part of the country’s biodiversity. The conservation challenges faced by Australia’s native bees include habitat destruction and fragmentation as well as climate change.

This stamp issue, illustrated by artist Kevin Stead, depicts representatives from the four main native bee families in Australia. These four bees vary in length between one and two centimetres.

Look back at more insects on stamps in our blog article.

Technical specifications

Issue date
Issue withdrawal date
4 x $1
Stamp and products illustration
Kevin Stead
Product design
Sharon Rodziewicz, Australia Post Design Studio
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell
Paper: self-adhesive
Securepost MC90
RA Printing
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
37.5 x 26
13.86 x 14.6
Sheet layout
Module of 50
FDI Postmark
Werribee, Vic 3030
FDI withdrawal date

Stamps in this issue

$1 - Resin Bee (Megachile macleayi)

The Resin Bee, from the family Megachilidae, builds its nest in a narrow holes in timber, constructing the nest and sealing the entrance with gums and resins it collects from leaves and plants. This solitary bee, which is found across northern Australia, prefers nectar from legume flowers.

$1 - Green and Gold Nomia Bee (Lipotriches australica)

From the family Halictidae and found throughout eastern Australia, the solitary Green and Gold Nomia Bee nests in the ground. After looking for mates and foraging for nectar during the day, clusters of numerous male bees spend the night clinging or “roosting” together on tree twigs or grass stems.

$1 - Wasp-mimic Bee (Hyleoides concinna)

The solitary Wasp-mimic Bee from the family Colletidae can most frequently be seen feeding from eucalypt flowers in eastern Australia from southern Queensland to Tasmania. It convincingly disguises itself as a black and orange wasp in order to fool and deter predators. The female builds her nest in stumps, logs or fallen trees, lining the walls and sealing the entrance with a cellophane-like material that she secretes.

$1 - Neon Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus nitidulus)

The striking, bright metallic blue Neon Cuckoo Bee from the family Apidae is so named because it opportunistically lays its eggs on the pollen balls inside the ground nests of the Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata). This solitary cleptoparasitic bee, which has no need to collect pollen from flowers, is found across eastern and northern Australia.

Shop our stamp collectables

Set of stamps:

Set of Native Bees gummed stamps

This set of stamps contains all four gummed stamps from the Native Bees stamp issue.

Stamp pack:

Native Bees stamp pack

The Native Bees stamp pack contains all four stamps from the stamp issue presented in high quality folder.

Booklet of 10:

Booklet of 10 $1 Neon Cuckoo Bee stamps

This booklet contains 10 x $1 self-adhesive Neon Cuckoo Bee stamps from the Native Bees stamp issue.

Maxicard set:

Native Bees maxicard set

This maxicard set contains the four maxicards from the Native Bees stamp issue.

Additional products:

  • Pictorial envelope for the Native Bees stamp issue
  • First day Native Bees gummed stamps cover
  • Booklet of 10 $1 Resin Bee stamps
  • Booklet of 10 $1 Wasp-mimic Bee stamps
  • Booklet of 10 $1 Green & Gold Nomia Bee stamps
  • Native Bees postal numismatic cover
  • Native Bees stamp and medallion cover
  • Native Bees stamp and 3 x medallion cover
  • Native Bees booklet collection
  • Gutter strip 10 Native Bees $1 Resin Bee stamps
  • Gutter strip 10 Native Bees $1 Wasp-mimic Bee stamps
  • Gutter strip 10 Native Bees $1 Green & Gold Nomia Bee stamps

This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.