RefuBees and the City

Honey Bees and Wild Bees

Written by hans kalliwoda

31 August 2023

In the Netherlands alone, there exist 360 distinct bee species. Among these, the honey bee is just one; the rest comprise wild bees, which significantly contribute to biodiversity.

While Wild Bees don’t produce honey, they excel at pollination. Many of them are specialised in pollinating specific plant species (monolectic and oligolectic), making the most specialised flower-visitors the optimal pollinators. For instance, tomatoes are pollinated by wild bees, not honey bees. Wild bees serve as the bedrock of our ecosystem; their disappearance would trigger a chain reaction, accelerating the ongoing sixth mass extinction and causing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Astonishingly, over half of the wild bee species are currently listed as threatened on the Red List.

Image: This container, sourced from the Naturalis (Dutch Nature Museum), holds 79 out of the 104 wild bee specimens found in Amsterdam. The purpose is to scan these specimens at Darmstadt University of Technology.

Video excerpt by Frank Theys.

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