They largely fall into three families – Leioproctus, Lasioglossum, and Hylaeus.
At least three native bee species have a basic social structure, a bit like the introduced honeybee and bumblebee.
The rest are solitary, although they may make nests close together.
Did you know? Nātive Bees are not affected by the Varroa mite that threatens honeybees?
Featuring Leioproctus bees
The most commonly seen native bees are 18 species of Leioproctus.
These bees are robust and hairy, looking similar to honeybees but smaller (5–12 millimetres long).
They are often seen in summer carrying pollen on their back legs, like honeybees and bumblebees.
They dig nest holes in the ground, and sometimes a nesting area riddled with bee holes gives the impression of a colony.
Native bees are not big travellers and so need flowers close by to collect pollen to feed their larvae.
Native bees play an especially important role in many of our ecosystems because they are among the most critical and effective pollinators of native plants, including mānuka, kānukau and pohutukawa.