Leafcutter Bee

photo by Ian Marsman CC BY-NC-ND

Leafcutter Bee are a medium-sized bee (.2-1 in) with stout, cigar-shaped bodies. They are black with pale-yellow stripes on their abdomen. They carry pollen on the hairs on the underside of their abdomen (not their legs) so the abdomen will look yellow when they are carrying a load.

Leafcutter Bee cut circular pieces of leaves (.25-.5 in) and carry them to a hole to construct a nest. Their nests are often in rotting wood, but they can also be found in snail shells or holes in a concrete wall, in the ground, or in a plant stem. The nests contain several cells, each of which contains a lump of pollen and an egg. The adults overwinter in the nest, chewing their way out in the spring.

Could it be? Leafcutters are solitary bees and do not live in large groups like Bumble Bees. They are the same size as Honey Bees but darker, with a larger head and eyes, and a hairier belly.

Did you know? Leafcutter Bee are very good pollinators. One Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee can do the job of 20 Honey Bee.

See Also: Bumblebee, Honey Bee, Mason Bee, Miner Bee, Sweat Bee, Wasp