WILD BEES: A VERY DIVERSE GROUP

There are over 20,000 different bee species in the world, most of them wild, coming in all shapes and sizes. Many wild bee species forage specifically on certain plants and depend on particular habitat and nesting structures.

While managed honey bees live in beehives, wild bees rely on a variety of habitats. Different species burrow into the ground or in wood, some nest in ready-made homes like abandoned snail shells while others look for holes in stone walls. Most species of wild bee are solitary and do not live in colonies. Many bumble bees and stingless bees are an exception – they form a colony, including a queen, drones and worker bees.

The composition of wild bee species varies greatly around the world, with the highest number found in warmer temperate areas such as the Mediterranean basin, the Californian region and certain semi-desert areas.

A few examples showing the diversity of bees:

Lasioglossum ereptor

////////// As their name may imply, sweat bees are attracted to perspiration, as it provides them with moisture and salts.

Megachile

////////// Leafcutter bees (Megachile) live up to their name by cutting circular sections from leaves (between 6 and 12 millimeters wide) and using the cuttings to build nests in which they place their eggs.

Meliponini

////////// Honey bees aren’t the only ones to produce honey; it is also made by the large group of stingless bees. The so-called Meliponini bees live in colonies of a few hundred to some ten thousand and a colony can produce anything from a few milliliters to several liters of honey annually, depending on beekeeping practices, foraging sources and particular species.
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