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Hofmann, Michaela M.; Fleischmann, Andreas; Renner, Susanne S. (2020): Foraging distances in six species of solitary bees with body lengths of 6 to 15 mm, inferred from individual tagging, suggest 150 m-rule-of-thumb for flower strip distances. In: Journal of Hymenoptera Research, Vol. 77: pp. 105-117
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Bees require suitably close foraging and nesting sites to minimize travel time and energy expenditure for brood provisioning. Knowing foraging distances in persistent ('healthy') populations is therefore crucial for assessing harmful levels of habitat fragmentation. For small bees, such distances are poorly known because of the difficulty of individual tagging and problems with mark-recapture approaches. Using apiarist's number tags and colour codes, we marked 2689 males and females of four oligolectic and two polylectic species of Osmiini bees (Megachilidae, genera Chelostoma, Heriades, Hoplitis, Osmia) with body lengths of 6 to 15 mm. The work was carried out in 21 ha-large urban garden that harbours at least 106 species of wild bees. Based on 450 re-sightings, mean female flight distances ranged from 73 to 121 m and male distances from 59 to 100 m. These foraging distances suggest that as a rule of thumb, flower strips and nesting sites for supporting small solitary bees should be no further than 150 m apart.