Leaf-cutters

Here’s a Megachilidae family leaf-cutter bee. Even if you’ve never seen one, you may very well have seen their sign.These solitary nesting bees gather pollen on the underside of their abdomens, unlike bumblebee and honey bees who pack it around their hind legs. They are fabulous pollinators and generally quite uninterested in you. They’re too busy working to care much for us.

As their name suggests, they chew out rather roundish pieces of leaves. Here’s a willow oak (Quercus phellos) I passed recently on a sidewalk in my neighborhood. (Hmm, but what’s that uneven cut on the other side?)I’ve never actually seen the cutting itself. Something to look forward to. (You know, when you pay attention to the wild you will never stop being amazed, never lose the excitement of novelty.) I’ve only seen a bee with a piece of leaf once or twice, and only photographed it once, a few years ago.

The females line their nests with these leaf pieces. Shall we theorize that some species of plants are better for counteracting parasites? Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a pretty reliable plant for these circular cuts.

Gardeners and tree shepards, rejoice that you have these cut leaves! Check out this site for some notes on how to encourage these amazing animals, how to set up solitary bee “hotels,” and video of a leaf cutter building out her brood cell.

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Trump’s looters and polluters (and western militia extremists) are now attempting to roll back the Endangered Species Act. No end to the abominations of these fuckers.

1 Response to “Leaf-cutters”


  1. 1 Sherry Felix July 21, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Cool. I’ve seen them around.


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