Wild bees of Slovenia


As pollinators of numerous plants, bees are indispensable for the survival of terrestrial ecosystems. Their predecessors were wasps, which substituted animal prey for pollen and nectar from flowers of the flowering plants. Plants discharge nectar in their flowers for the very purpose to attract pollinators, and as pollen is a protein-rich nutrient, it suffices for the development of the bees' offspring.

In Slovenia, 575 wild bee species have been registered so far, most of them living a solitary life. Every female makes the nest by herself and takes care of the food necessary for her descendants. Bees are distinguishable from each other by their life habits and adaptation to their plant hosts. They are from 3 mm to 2.5 cm (the size reached by the giant carpenter bee) long.


Hylaeus species, such as Hylaeus confusus, have no hair coat and transfer the pollen and nectar in their crops.

Giant carpenter bees (Xylocopa violacea) are, together with their closely related species, X. valga, our largest bees.


A male Anthophora plumipes lying in wait for females.

A pair of carder bees (Anthidium septemspinosum) copulating on the vetch's (Vicia sp.) flowers.


Slovenian Museum of Natural History

                                       Text and photographs by Andrej Gogala