Patchwork LeafCutter Bee

Megachile centuncularis

Patchwork LeafCutter Bee

profile iconLeafcutter bee by Bernhard plank
by SiLencer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 2
A close up of Megachile centuncularis patchwork leafcutter bee on a leaf
profile iconLeafcutter bee by Bernhard plank
by SiLencer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 2
Patchwork leaf-cutter bee is a medium-sized long-tongued bee. These solitary bees are active from mid-June with the highest population peak in July. They love gardens in both rural and urban areas, so it's understandable that they're they are the most abundant leaf-cutter bee in the UK. They use the leaf material to build nests for their young. They also collect pollen on their stomachs as opposed to using pollen baskets, and this is done using a structure known as a pollen brush. This adaptation makes them extremely efficient pollinators, collecting roughly 20x more pollen than your average honeybee.
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Traits

Plants can look less attractive with parts cut out, but this is entirely based on opinion!
The leaf-cutter bee is an important pollinator and great to observe in the garden.

Appearance

Adults: These bees are around 10-12mm in length and have a dark brown-black abdomen. The females may be seen with flushes of colour beneath the abdomen. This is hundreds and thousands of pollen particles stuck to the pollen brush. They lack hair or banding; the abdomens bare and shiny black-brown. The scopa (pollen-collecting apparatus) is located below the abdomen, which is often bright orange or yellow, depending on the flower they've foraged. Larvae and Eggs: Gardeners rarely see these because they spend their lives in the nest.

Symptoms

Leaves have semi-circular holes where the bees have snipped away at them. Bees which fly close to leaves. They may nest in old wall cavities.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Megachilidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Europe and North America

Biological treatment

These bees are effective pollinators, bringing benefits to gardens. Encourage these bees to your garden by planting bee-friendly flowers and fruits.

Chemical treatment

It's not suggested to treat gardens for bees, they provide a key ecosystem service that's vital for plant reproduction!

Attracts

Rose and Maple leaves make great building materials! They will forage the nectar and pollen of an array of tubular flowers, too.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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