Facts about Leafcutter bees, "Scientific name for Leafcutter bee Megachilidae". belong to the Megachilid genera. Megachilidae is a cosmopolitan family mostly of solitary bees that have its pollen-carrying structure also known as scope restricted to the ventral surface on its abdomen rather than the normal hind legs like other bees. Leafcutter bees are native bees insects of the western United States, important as pollinators.
As the name reflect the leafcutter bees build their nest cells using leaves or soil.
The Leafcutter bees are considered to be a very important pollinator in North America. As stated earlier this bees use leaf cuttings when constructing their nests in soft woods.
of the Leafcutter bees, leafcutter bees are moderate in size, quite similar to the honey bee; they range from .19 to .31 inches (5mm to 24mm) in length. They are commonly black in color and have a stout body with light bands on the abdomen. The female leafcutter carry pollen on the hairs on their under belly except for the parasitic bee. When they are carrying pollen, their abdomen appear light yellow to deep gold in color.
Life Cycle of a Leafcutter Bee
A newly emerged female leafcutter will start construct of its nest just after it emerges in the spring season. Leafcutter bees nest in rotted soft wood or in the stems of plants, pithy plants, thick-stemmed, such as roses stems, lilac, green ash and Virginia creeper and also in holes that were made by other insects in soil. They boor a smooth semicircular cut about 3/4 inch (1.9cm) in diameter from the edge of leaves. The leafcutter bees cuts the leaves of plants. These cut leaf fragments are used in the formation of nest cells. Leafcutter bees don't eat the cut pieces of leaves that they remove. They carry it back to the nest and use them to enhance the nest cells of the already formed tunnels. A finished nesting tunnel may contain a 12 or more cells creating a tube 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20.3cm) long. Then they supply each leaf-lined cell with a mixture of nectar and pollen. They lay a single egg per cell. The larvae will develop in the cells during the winter as it matures and it emerges as an adult early in the summer or the following spring. The female visits flowers to gather pollen and nectar ready for the larvae when it hatches. It has to make numerous trips to achieve the required mass.
Leafcutter bees are timid as bees go and have a mild sting that is used only when humans hold them.There are three types of bees in the Leafcutter bee hive, a Drone, Worker and the Queen. A worker bee will die if she uses her stinger.
The hind legs of the Leafcutter bees carry pollen in them and it is called a pollen baskets. Pollen is the protein for which the baby bee needs to grow.
A Leafcutter bee has two stomachs, the first stomach is for eating and the other stomach is specially designed for storing nectar collected from flowers and water, for making it possible to carry it back to the hive.
Leafcutter bees fall in the classification of insects with six legs. Leafcutter bees have five eyes; three tiny ocelli eyes and two compound eyes.
The Leafcutter bees have four stages of life, Eggs, Larvae, Pupae and Full grown Bee.
Leafcutter bees do not produce colonies these bees are solitary bees, they are not like insects that are social and create hive and nests, such as, yellow-jackets, honeybees, ants, etc. Single females leafcutter bees do all the work of raising the young, like digging the nest, feeding the young, creating nest cells. Females adult leafcutters can live up to two months and lay about 35 to 40 eggs at a time.