NEW ORLEANS – There’s buzz about a new sculpture installed at the Audubon Zoo.

It’s a statue that doubles as a bee palace for wild bees, who don’t have a structure most typically thought about when referring to bee colonies.

“Ninety five percent of the bee species in the world are not like what we think of as bees,” said sculptor Esther Solondz. “They don’t live in colonies. They don’t have a queen and they don’t make honey.”

Those bees are known as wild solitary bees. Although they may not live in a colony, they are still important to pollination.

“Bees are very important to not only the pollination of the fruits and vegetables we eat, but also for the pollination of the plants and grasses that our livestock eat,” said Audubon Director of Education Projects Brenda Walkenhorst. “No bees, no food.’’

Solondz added wild solitary bees do not swarm and are non-aggressive, and therefore safe around children and pets.