Leaf-cutter Bee

Megachile species

Description

Body length 6 - 16mm. These are superficially very similar species and close examination of structure and hair colour is needed to differentiate between them. They are large solitary bees that use hairs on the underside of the abdomen to carry pollen to their cells where they stock up food for their larvae to feed on. They can be seen cutting neat circular pieces of leaf or petal to line their cells with.

Habitat

They nest in rotten wood in trees and man made structures like rotting fence posts or gates. They mostly prefer thistle flowers to collect food from, but do forage from a range of flowers.

Status and distribution

Mostly confined to the southern half of Britain but some can be found as far north as Aberdeen. Fairly common in Nottinghamshire and regular at Netherfield Lagoons.

Best time to see

May to September.