They are quite easy to distinguish from other solitary bees, as they hold their wings to the side of their bodies, unlike most bees that hold them tent-like, folded over the abdomen. the photo above shows this characteristic well.
What use are solitary bees?
Many solitary bees are very efficient pollinators. In the UK, bees of the genus Osmia, known as orchard bees, are used for pollinating fruit trees. Also, a leafcutter bee is used to pollinate Alfalfa crops in North America and Australia.
It’s very likely that solitary bees are important for the pollination of many plants. Some species are quite specialized and have close connections with certain types of plants.
Do solitary bees sting?
Yes, they can, but here’s the good news: Only the females sting and they have feeble stings. They will only attempt to sting you if roughly handled. Solitary bees live solitary life-styles, so they do not gang up on you in terrifying numbers. In fact they don’t gang up on you at all. They hardly bother to defend their own nests! In short, they are virtually harmless.