European Wool Carder Bee - the new kid on the block
Wool carders aren’t hive dwellers, but solitary bees that live in holes or cracks they find in wood or stems or in the ground. Who knows how it arrived here, but just like the exotic European honey bee, it has plenty of exotic flowers to feed on so it is likely to stay. It was first identified in New Zealand in Napier and Nelson in 2006 as the European wool carder bee or Anthidium manicatum, and now widespread throughout New Zealand, including Papamoa!
Our smallest native bee
There are actually four native species of Lasioglossum in New Zealand. At only 4-8 mm long, Lasioglossum sordidum are one of the smallest bees. They are black or greenish and only moderately hairy, so at a glance, you might think it was a fly... but it is indeed a native bee, and endemic to New Zealand (one of our 27 endemic native bees).
The worldwide decline of the bee has not excluded the bumblebee, with some species now on the endangered list. The removal of wildflowers from their habitat is contributing to its decline.
What are bees, and what is bee pollen?
We all know the honey bee and that it operates in a colony, but most species of bee are in fact solitary. An adult female finds a suitable site and constructs a nest. She mates with a male to fertilise her eggs, then works alone as she builds her nests in a protected position, like in soil, sand, or a hollow plant stem.