[13] The females of M. chomskyi and M. amica can also be distinguished by their hair. She cuts circular disks of leaves, about 1″ in diameter, placing about 15 of them at the bottom of the first cell. Leafcutter bees are a unique group of bees in both morphology and nesting behaviors. The large size allows them to be used for chewing leaves, gnawing wood, and moving small stones. She then provisions the cell with pollen and regurgitated nectar, and lays a single egg. She will use preexisting holes to construct a cigar-shaped cavity that contains several brood cells and line them with leaf cuttings. Our research spans numerous scientific disciplines and is international in scope. He was moving constantly and too small for the camera to focus before he was off to another flower cluster, but here are two of the best shots I got. In about a month the adult bees will chew their way out of these incubator chambers. sequence so that a finished nest tunnel may contain a dozen or more cells [2] Sheffield concurrently published the specimen data via GBIF's Integrated Publishing Toolkit. This very small black and white striped bee (unfamiliar to me) was very difficult to photograph. Leafcutter bees are a non-aggressive species of bee and will only sting if handled. Alfalfa leafcutter bees do not mind being hit on the head as the alfalfa flower’s keel is tripped open and this characteristic is what made them the darling of alfalfa fields. I mentioned these facts to my 6 year old and she apparently already knew all about the belly fuzz – way before I came along with my big mouth. Texas leafcutter bees emerge in spring in southern New York and remain visible in our general area through September. Adult leafcutter bees will usually overwinter in their nests and will chew their way out once spring has arrived.

It eats pollen and nectar from more than 80 different species of plants. She then reinforces her leaf-door with a scaffold of plant fibers plastered with leaf mastic. I’m sure glad I didn’t crop our remaining coreopsis flower heads – they made beautiful hiding places for all the tiny insects hanging around. (Pemphredon species) and small carpenter bees far more commonly tunnel In fact, the US Agricultural Research Service state that 1 alfalfa leafcutter bee can do the job of 20 honey bees! Adult females may live up to 2 months and lay some 35-40 eggs during this time. On 08/3/2019 there were several types of bees or wasps on our large bush of Swamp Milkweed. She packs the pollen and nectar into a loaf, filling an area about the length of her body, and then lays an egg on it. Instead individual female leafcutter bees do all the work of rearing. umatillensis. Leaf-cutter Bees are small, but agile. This button not working for you? Leafcutter bee nest – cigar shaped leaf lining. [7] The M. chomskyi specimens were collected as early as late April and as late as June. sometimes nest in the largest diameter rose canes, but cause little
Megachile (Megachiloides) chomskyi is a species of leafcutter bee found in Texas. They are able to carry bits of dried leaf over and over again to their nest site. other loose netting during periods when leafcutter bees are most active. Their Royal Saskatchewan Museum entomologist Cory S. Sheffield wrote the species description for M. chomskyi in a 2013 paper in the journal ZooKeys. The sides of the face (paraocular area) and the area at the base of the antennae are densely covered with short whitish hairs. The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (Fabricius), is an important pollinator of alfalfa, and can be encouraged to nest in man-made structures. young with food. The thorax (mesosoma) has three segments.

And for kicks, here is a shot of a leafcutter bee I took outside the Natural History Museum of Utah (www.nhmu.utah.edu), enthusiastically pointing it out to the kids who were like, “Yeah, mom.” “Cool, mom.” I guess they’ve gotten their share of pollinator exposure this summer.

The name is fitting for these bees because they have a set of large mandibles that are useful for cutting leaves. The wonders of the natural world await if we could only take the time… Follow me on Twitter @naturemomtexas!

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