There are 28 species of native bees in Aotearoa covering 3 genera (Leiproctus, Hylaeus, and Lasioglossum), and all belong to the family Colletidae. These bees are unique to Aotearoa and found nowhere else in the world!

All NZ native bees are solitary bees, ground nesting, quick fliers, very small in size (5-12mm) and quite hairy. They also do not produce honey and rarely sting.

Unlike European honeybees who live in large complex social societies with more than 50,000 individuals working together as one super-organism, NZ native bee's solitary behavior means they have limited interaction with others of their kind or even their own offspring. 

Introducing Ngaro Huruhuru

The Ngaro Huruhuru females dig tunnels up to 30cm deep into roadside banks or in loose ground where conditions are dry and sunny. They create chambered nests and line each brood chamber with a small ball of pollen and nectar and lay a single egg on top before it is sealed. The female only lays 8-12 eggs in her lifetime and dies before her eggs have pupated so there is no generational overlap.

Ngaro Huruhuru have very short tongues that are closely evolved with NZ native flowering plants such as mānuka, kānuka, pōhutukawa, and hebe. Interestingly, scientific observations on the South Island concluded that there may not be as much competition between honeybees and native bees as we previously thought due to their unique tongue length and plant preferences.

Climate change, land use, and pesticide use all have negative effects on our pollinators but especially affect delicate and unique species like NZ's native bees. Planting prolifically flowering native species is an important way we can help these important pollinators to thrive!

Have you ever seen Ngaro Huruhuru?



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