NZ has 28 native bee species! They are quite small and each female has her own nest, where she lives a solitary life, looking after her own brood. They are at risk due to climate change and the change of land use by us!
Leioproctus are 5-12 mm long and very hairy. Normally black, there is one species that has dense yellowish hair: the South Island species, L. fulvescens.
Females dig tunnels into the ground up to 30 cm, in which they lay approximately 8-12 eggs in their life. They collect lots of nectar and pollen for their larvae but die before their offspring pupates. Once the young adult females emerge they will dig their own nests.
They have very short tongues that are perfect for taking nectar from the small flowers of New Zealand’s native plants, such as mānuka and kānuka. As flower visitors, they’re important pollinators of native plants but also benefit orchards, some vegetable crops, and exotic flowers.
You can support native bees by planting suitable native plants and trees for them to feed on, and, most importantly, buy seasonal and organic products in order to stop the spread of pesticides.
Check these links for more info on the Native Bees in NZ
iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Leioproctus fulvescens
Wikipedia: Information on Leioproctus fulvescens
Radio New Zealand (Our Changing World): New Zealand’s Smallest Bees (2015)
Click on the image to visit the official iNaturalist.nz observation.