Belongs to: solitary bees

Leafcutter bee Megachile spp

Best time to see: mid May to mid Aug

Key facts

Solitary bees that cut pieces from leaves to build and line their nests, including from garden roses

The patchwork leafcutter bee is the commonest, nesting mainly in gardens and parks

Nest in natural holes in wood, but readily use lengths of cane or blocks of wood with holes (8mm–10mm) bored into them


Similar in appearance to a honey bee, but darker, broader and more hairy

Females have a pollen brush under the abdomen, i.e. a mat of fine hairs designed to collect pollen


Nest in holes in wood, using pieces of leaf to line the nest chamber, or build a complete structure out of leaves

In summer the female constructs a series of chambers in each nest, laying an egg and supplying nectar and pollen as food

The eggs over-winter, then hatch out the following spring and develop within the nest, chewing their way out in summer

© Tony Gunton

© Tony Gunton