Leafcutter bees are busy bees! The name leaf cutter is really a nickname for these gentle bees. Megachile rotundata is their scientific name. They are a part of the Megachilidae family. This family of bees is huge, containing almost 600 species found in North America. The leafcutter bee is a non-aggressive solitary species of bee. We like to call them our “kind” bees. These docile bees are a riveting species with many unique features.
Leafcutters are unique, especially when it comes to their physical appearance. These bees are only about the size of your pinky nail (7-8mm). The female bees have black or dark eyes and fuzzy bellies that help with pollination. The female abdomens also tend to be a little pointed. The males however have green eyes and they tend to be smaller. Leafcutters are mostly black with some stripes of dull yellow. If you are wondering if you have leafcutters in your yard the biggest thing to look for is the cutouts in your plants.
Leafcutter bees are super pollinators, especially for your gardens. It takes one leafcutter bee to pollinate an equivalent of 20 honey bees. As they buzz over your garden they pollinate the flowers. You will see the pollen collected under the fuzzy little bellies. Pollen and nectar will be carried back to their tunnels to nourish their babies. Here they lay eggs and safely wrap them in the leaves. These tunnels could be in trees, rotten logs, left behind trails from other insects and even man-made buildings. We recommend our Kind Bee all-in-one pollination kit. as the best home for leafcutter bees. We have custom-designed our bee home specifically for leafcutter bees. They like small holes that have no sharp barbs. The smooth tunnels will be safe for their delicate wings from getting scratched or torn.
Caring for leafcutter bees
What is the best thing to do to help your bees thrive? Plant a ton of flowers and plants! These bees love flowers and they will need them if you want them to stay in your yard. Mount or place your home about 3-4 feet high protected from rain and wind. They are just too small to withstand the extreme elements. Ensure that other animals such as dogs and cats cannot reach them. Do not mount them in trees as this often is a home for ants and birds. Ants and birds love our gentle bees. Bees love the summer heat, so when introducing leafcutters to your yard make sure the temperatures are around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- These bees love the sun! If it is not sunny out the bees hide in their tunnels or hang out by their houses.
- They carry pollen under their bellies
- They never share a hole
- Male leafcutter bees only live 10-14 days. they hatch first
- Males have green eyes
- Females’ lifespan is about 60 days
- Females hatch later and have darker bodies with black eyes.
- Leafcutter bees love flowers, particularly alfalfa flowers rose bushes and anything else with a flower.
- The female bees cut out perfectly crescent-shaped pieces of leaves to create the perfect cocoon for their bee babies
- Cocoons are capped off with a perfectly circular piece of leaf
Our kind bees will provide a special experience for you and your family. These bees are fast pollinators and are bewitching to watch as they build nests for their baby bees. Leafcutters make for easy company and they make everything so beautiful. You work hard for your garden to look beautiful and these busy bees would make a perfect addition to your garden.