Leaf Cutter Bee

Leaf Cutter Bee

A small common, but rarely seen, bee in the UK that cuts little sections out of leaves – particularly roses – to make their nest from. They patch the leaf sections together with their saliva to build cells for their larvae, making up small, individual nests. This leaf cutting does not tend to harm the plants.

They are extremely useful bees and their pollination skills are coveted by gardeners and farmers alike.   In fact, farmers can spread the prepupae of the leafcutter bee on and around their crops in the hope of attracting them to assist with pollination – they are particularly good with vegetables and fruit crops.

The leafcutter bee is similar in appearance to the honey bee but with an orange abdomen. They are around from April to August and hibernate over winter. Their habits are more like those of the Mason/masonry bee, collecting pollen on its abdomen (changing it briefly from orange to yellow) and making their nests in small holes in woodwork or in pre-existing cavities.

The leafcutter bee has been known to sting and bite, but generally does not do so unless threatened. The sting is said to be much less painful than that of a honey bee.