Belongs to: solitary bees

Leafcutter bee Megachile centuncularis


Best time to see: mid May to mid Aug

Key facts

A solitary bee that cuts semi-circular pieces from leaves to build and line its nests

There are several different species, the commonest of which often attacks garden roses

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

Recognition

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

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

Lifecycle

Nests 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

  • Main photo
  • at nest

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Tony Gunton