A richly spread table for wild bees

Bees, including bumblebees, solitary bees and of course honeybees, are the most important pollinators of our native flowering plants. Especially the often minute and inconspicuous relatives of honeybees astonish the careful observer with their fascinating diversity – and they are invaluable parts of our ecosystem. Some plant species, for example, can only be pollinated by one specific bee species. If this bee does not occur in a certain habitat, the respective plant has a very slim chance of survival.

In 2020 and 2021 the wild bees at Schönbrunn Zoo were closely observed and investigated for the very first time. The results are absolutely fascinating: Sylvia Wanzenböck, wild bee expert at the Natural History Museum Vienna, could show in the course of her study that 86 in part very rare wild bee species of 20 different genera live at Schönbrunn Zoo, such as the Violet Carpenter Bee, the Golden Furrow Bee and the Bryony Mining Bee.

Wild Bee Expert Mag. Sylvia Wanzenböck: „For wild bees, not only the food supply offered by flowers, but also the availability of suitable nesting sites is crucial. The zoo offers small-scale structures and diverse habitats in a relatively small area and thereby promotes the high diversity of wild bees, I could document in the scope of my mapping project.“

Locations at Schönbrunn Zoo with exceptionally high bee diversity:

• Flower beds in front of the elephant enclosure
• Flowerbeds along the visitor paths between the South America enclosure and the sea lions
• Flower beds and nesting aids in front of the Orang.erie
• Flower beds in front of the coati enclosure
• Flower beds between Rainforest House and Foot-flagging Frog Container
• Rosemary bushes around the Emperor’s Pavillion