Even though we are primarily committed to our native honey bees, the welfare of their wild counterparts is also very close to our hearts. Just like our honey bees, wild bees also play an essential role in preserving natural biodiversity. Some wild bee species have specialized exclusively in pollinating a single plant species and are therefore essential for its continued existence.
To draw attention to the importance of wild pollinators, the Wild Bee Cadastre working group has been choosing a wild bee species of the year together with the Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart since 2013. In 2022, the tansy masquerade bee was selected.
The wild bee owes its interesting name to the white head markings of the males, which resemble a mask. The tansy mask bee flies from the end of May to the end of August and only visits composite plants such as daisies, chamomile or yarrow. Since these plant species are widespread in Germany, this wild bee species is not endangered.
Unlike their conspecifics, females cannot carry pollen on their hind legs or abdomen, so they swallow the pollen and carry it back to the nest in their crop.
For more information and images of the Raifarn masked bee, click here.