Forget about queens and workers. Solitary bees are all born equal and every female is fertile and makes her own nest. While minding their own business, some solitary bees are also gregarious, meaning they like to nests next to each other, like city dwellers. Gregarious solitary bees can be used as managed pollinators.
The majority of solitary bees have a very similary cycle of nesting behaviour, summarized in the following sequence of activites:
Emergence -> mating -> search and prepare nesting-site (tunnel) - > construction of first broad (progeny) cell -> provision cell with nectar and pollen mass -> egg laying -> closure of cell -> construction of second broad cell -> and so on.
Peaceful and safe
These little but potent creatures are also gentle by nature and only sting or bite if squeezed or stepped on (most species are actually stingless). There are also no known instances of people eliciting an allergic reaction to solitary bees. Solitary bees are therefore both beneficial to your garden and safe for children and pets.
Solitary bees can be divided into two main groups according to their nesting behaviour; groundnesting bees and cavity nesting bees. Habeetats work exclusively with two types cavity nesting bees, leafcutters and mason bees, as these are the easiest to manage, inspect and propagate.
Consisting of over three hundred species, Mason bees (Osmia sp.) live up to their name by making skilful use of mud and clay as they prepare their nests.
With more than 1500 species, the leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) make up the largest group of solitary bees. Leafcutter bees use circular cuts of leaves to line their nests.