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Megachile macularis,

Megachile macularis

Megachile macularis, a female leaf cutter bee carrying dry pollen grains in her scopal hairs. Photo by Laurence Sanders.

Did you know, most native bees are solitary? Unlike honey bees, solitary bees don’t need to feed a large community. A female solitary bee only collects enough pollen to feed one offspring at a time. This means she can simply scrabble pollen from flowers and pack the dry pollen grains straight into her specialised hairs, called scopa. These dry pollen grains remain exposed to the reproductive parts of the flower as she moves over the flower. This enables excellent cross pollination as the bee forages, which maximises fertilisation and seed set within the plant.

By Megan Halcroft

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