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Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae)
Invertebrates Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)

General: Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae) are small bees, about the size of a honey bee. They are black with narrow yellow rings around the abdomen. Leaf-cutter bees cut oval disks from leaves to use in building their nest, hence the name "leaf-cutter."

These bees nest in holes in the ground, in wood, or in other structures where they can bore a hole (even inside a garden hose, see below). They then insert the cut leaf (or leaves), rolled into a tube, into the hole to make a chamber for one egg. They place a ball of pollen inside the leaf tube, and lay one egg on the pollen. Repeating the process, the female wasp fills her hole with series of cut-leaf chambers, then seals them up with a waxy plug. Eventually the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the pollen, break out, and the the cycle repeats.

Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)

Female Leaf-cutter Bee begins cutting a round disk from a leaf.

Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae) Leaf-cutter Bee continues cutting, rolling the leaf disk as she goes.
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae) Leaf-cutter Bee holds the leaf-disk tube as she hovers and makes the last cuts.
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae) When finished, all that remains is a leaf with a disk cut out.
Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae) Leaf-cutter bee (possibly genus Megachile) on a flower in Yosemite National Park.
Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae)
Cold bee sleeping in a poppy flower
Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae)
Bee and beetle on a poppy flower
Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae)
Bee on creosote bush
Leaf-cutter Bees (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae)
Bee on creosote bush
mega more to come ...
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Ovals cut from rose bush leaves
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Leaf ovals at the far end of the nest built inside a garden hose
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Leaf ovals at the far end of the nest built inside a garden hose
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Leaf ovals at the far end of the nest built inside a garden hose
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Leaf ovals arranged to form a nest that was inside a garden hose
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Leaf ovals arranged to form a nest that was inside a garden hose
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Leaf ovals arranged to form a nest that was inside a garden hose
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Waxy cap at the close end of the nest
Leaf-cutter Bees (Megachilidae)
Waxy cap at the close end of the nest
more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 101116

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