Currently viewing the category: "Mason Bees and Leafcutter Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp like bug that stung my daughter
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
September 7, 2014 6:02 pm
Hi there! Tonight I went for a walk with my kids and my daughter put her hand on a chain and was stung by this little guy. We are in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. any idea what this bug is?
Signature: Lisa

Leafcutter Bee

Leafcutter Bee

Dear Lisa,
This is a solitary bee in the family Megachilidae, commonly called Mason Bees or Leafcutter (or Leafcutting) Bees.  According to BugGuide:  “Most are leaf-cutters, nesting in ground, in cavities, wood. Tunnels are bored in wood or in the ground. Cell is provisioned with pollen (and nectar?), an egg laid, and cell is sealed over with circular pieces of leaves that fit tightly into cavity.”
  According to Featured Creatures:  “Most leafcutting bees are moderately-sized (around the size of a honey bee, ranging from 5 mm to 24 mm), stout-bodied, black bees. The females, except the parasitic Coelioxys, carry pollen on hairs on the underside of the abdomen rather than on the hind legs like other bees. When a bee is carrying pollen, the underside of the abdomen appears light yellow to deep gold in color.”  WE are sorry to hear about your daughter’s sting, as this is not typical of encounters with Leafcutter Bees.

Leafcutter Bee

Leafcutter Bee

Thank you so much for the info! I am sure it just felt threatened as it would have been squished if my daughter grabbed the chain any harder. Thanks again!!
Lisa

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Perhaps a Leaf Cutter Bee?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
June 5, 2014 12:41 pm
Hello, I was photographing flowers in the yard when I noticed this bee. It has bright yellow under its abdomen. I wondered if it is pollen? I saw the beautiful leaf cutter bee posted last week and wondered if this one is similar.
Thanks!
Signature: Ellen

Leaf Cutter Bee

Leaf Cutter Bee

Hi Ellen,
We are jealous that you are getting to spend so much time in the garden.  We are still dealing with final examinations and presentations from our students.  You are correct.  This is a Leaf Cutter Bee in the genus
Megachile, and they do collect pollen on the underside of the abdomen.

Leaf Cutter Bee

Leaf Cutter Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Leafcutter Bee?
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
May 31, 2014 4:11 pm
Hi –
Our neighbor’s front yard hill appears to have been colonized by bees. After doing some research, I think they are leafcutter bees, as they very diligently drag small circles of leaves into tunnels just barely big enough to admit them, and as they ignore the people around them, even when walking past carrying stuff as new renters move in, or even once going down the hill, burying some of the tunnels.
The entire hill in the first picture is riddled with holes, seems like 100’s of them. The tunnels fill the space between the stairs and our lower yard, but they stop there, and I do not see any holes in our yard. There are a few beyond the stairs, by the low retaining wall, above the mulched area. In between the houses is a stand of Japanese Knotwood that I keep intending to go after, but they are very stubborn, and I wonder if those are the draw for the bees?
I hope you can confirm this (or give me another possibility), and I hope you have some suggestions to encourage them to find other nesting / denning locations, as the landlord is determined to exterminate them with a spray come Monday.
I’ve included a shot of the whole hill, one picture that has the bee (it was tough to get a good pic, both because my iTouch camera is not the greatest, and bc they move fast!), and in the last pic I finally caught one of the leaves that was being dragged into the tunnel – it’s in the upper left, curled to the left rather in a rather conical shape.
They are fascinating to watch, and I hate to see them go, but I understand the desire not to have the colony so close to the front door of the house. I just want to know if there’s a way to discourage them from living there, without killing them.
Help?
Thanks!
Signature: Pioden

Leaf Cutter Bee

Leaf Cutter Bee

Dear Pioden,
The behavior you describe is exactly that of solitary Leaf Cutter Bees in the family Megachilidae (see BugGuide), but we are unable to determine the species based on your images even though the images document the behavior you have described.  We cannot think of any way to deter the Leaf Cutter Bees from their nesting site.  Though solitary in nest construction, these bees are will often nest in close proximity to others of the species.  We are sorry to hear about your landlord’s eradication plan.  The Leaf Cutter Bees do not live in the nest as the nest is strictly provisioned for the progeny.

Leaf Cutter Bee taking leaf into nest

Leaf Cutter Bee taking leaf into nest

Thanks for your reply! I’m hoping to get out there today with a better camera, see if I can get a few good shots of them.
Where do the bees then “sleep”, or overnight?  There is a large stand or Japanese knotwood nearby, do you think that has anything to do with them?
Natalie Beversluis

Hi Natalie,
The Leaf Cutter Bees will seek shelter in shrubbery and other locations during the night.  The stand of Japanese knotwood might have some bearing on the presence of he bees.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: leaf cutter bee preservation
May 31, 2014 8:19 am
Using your wonderful site, I believe I have identified a leaf cutter bee making its nest in a drainage hole  of one of my plants. I noticed her several days ago frequently visiting the hole. Now, she is diligently bringing leaves into the hole presumably to line its burrows for egg laying.
My concern is watering the plant-I’m afraid I will “drown” the offspring/eggs. Should I seal the hole when I know the bee is gone to encourage it to go elsewhere or will the eggs survive waterings?
She is proividing me with hours of entertainment but I don’t want to destroy her eggs.
Signature: Maary Beth

Leaf Cutter Bee (image from our archives)

Leaf Cutter Bee (image from our archives)

Dear Maary Beth,
We believe the Leaf Cutter Bee in question scouted for the perfect location for her nest, and your potted plant is ideal because of the moisture level.  As you can see from this image from our archives, Leaf Cutter Bees occasionally build nests in potted plants.

Thank you for your response. I am relieved to know we can happily cohabitate. That little creature is amazing. I hope to greet her offspring when they emerge. Mary Beth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Honey bee?
Location: Houston, TX
November 23, 2013 7:53 pm
I put a log on the fire and, sadly, it was inhabited by this bee. It was stuck in the fireplace screen and when I tried to remove it, it’s head fell off. I tried to put it back together. It seems larger and darker than a regular honey bee, but not quite a bumblebee. Suggestions? Thanks!
Signature: treyzmama

Leaf-Cutting Bee

Leaf-Cutting Bee

Dear treyzmama,
This appears to be a Leaf-Cutting Bee in the genus
Megachile.  According to BugGuide:  “Most nest in pre-existent holes in wood. Female typically cuts neat, more-or-less round pieces out of leaves to serve as separators between cells of nest.”  There was most likely a nest in the log you threw on the fire.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Planting Cosmos
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
November 18, 2013
We used to have Cosmos flowers that naturalized in our garden many years ago after an initial planting in around 2001.  The seeds would drop and we would get new plants each year.  One especially wet year, they grew to well over six feet tall.  Cosmos is an excellent plant for attracting pollinating insects.  We even posted photos of a female Leafcutter Bee on our blossoms in 2006.  Alas, for the past two years we have not had any Cosmos come up on its own, and we didn’t make the effort to purchase any new seeds.

Leaf Cutter Bee on Cosmos

Leaf Cutter Bee on Cosmos

Then several weeks ago, we identified a Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee  for Anna in Hawthorne, and she offered to send us some seeds.  They arrived a few days ago and we have been planting Cosmos seeds among the winter vegetables we put in this weekend, beginning with carrots and onions.  We hope to be able to provide you with photos of insects visiting our Cosmos in the near future.  This is a good time to plant Cosmos in Southern California, but this charming annual can be grown throughout North America, and we would strongly suggest Cosmos as an ideal plant for a bug friendly garden.

Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee

Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination