- Plant species richness and pollen abundance may be a limiting factor for solitary bees.
- Polylectic bees opportunistically collect pollen of plants present in the environment.
- Osmia bicornis creates provisions for offspring mostly from pollen of trees.
- Osmia bicornis repeatedly collects pollen from oaks, maples, horse chestnut and elms
- Feeding conditions of Osmia bicornis in European urban areas depends on trees.
Development of urban agglomerations and the intensification of agriculture profoundly affect bees’ food resources, hence ecosystem services such as pollination. A solitary bee, Osmia bicornis (syn. O. rufa), is an effective springtime pollinator of crops, decorative and wild plants. However, it is largely unknown if this species is conservative or plastic in pollen collection in different environments. New breedings of O. bicornis were established in localizations qualified as urban (90 % of built-up infrastructure), suburban (55–65 %), and rural (up to 20 %). From each nest randomly chosen samples of unused pollen provisions were collected and analysed. Moreover, literature databases of food composition of O. bicornis was compiled to show overall tendencies in the choice of plant type, habitat, as well as pollen coating and size. Our field study showed that in the less human-modified environment O. bicornis collected higher diversity of pollen types to build its provision, compared to more urban areas (Simpson diversity index was 3.7 in rural, 2.8 in suburban and 2.2 in urban sites). Literature review showed that bees repeatedly collected pollen from commonly available trees like oaks, maples, horse chestnut and elms. Field data also revealed that the use of tree pollen was especially common in urban sites while bees from suburban and rural sites included pollen of herbaceous plants and shrubs. Neither the shape nor the size of the pollen mattered to bee foraging choices. However, bees frequently used pollen dispersed by wind in urban sites. The main conclusion is that polylectic bees opportunistically collect pollen of plants present in the environment and number of plant taxa may be limiting factor for studied bees. The welfare of O. bicornis requires planting trees such as oaks, willows, maples, and representatives from Rosaceae family, and it is especially advisable in urban sites where herbaceous flowering plants are less common than in urban and suburban areas. Hence, keeping even singular trees may complement the bee food base in urbanized areas.