Leafcutters and Resin Bees

Leafcutters and Resin Bees are both in the Megachile genus.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw precisely cut leaves poking out of a hole in my bee hotel. This was my first encounter with a Leafcutter Bee and I’ve not had many encounters since.

They are elusive and fast, both while cutting the soft leaves that they use to line their cigar shaped nests and flying back to a nest with them. I managed to capture it on video one day. You can watch it here. Note how even the slow motion looks fast!

Leafcutters favour soft thin leaves and have a preference for rose leaves. It’s easy to recognise the regular half moon shapes around the edge of the leaves – far too regular for a grasshopper, caterpillar or leaf beetle!

Here’s a link to a video on YouTube showing a Leafcutter cutting a Rose leaf.

Some companies even sell them for release! Check out this video showing a release.

Resin Bees use resin to seal their nests which are usually made in abandoned borer holes in wood or in bee hotels. The resin comes in many different colours. I’ve seen white cellophane like seals and bright green ones as well as the amber that we usually associate with tree resin.

All Megachile bees show a preference for pea flowers, perfectly shaped for them to harvest pollen and nectar, but they also like flowers with purple pollen and I often see them on my Perennial Basil.

Want a Pocket-book Guide to help you identify Australian bees in your garden? This is my favourite:

Bees & other beneficial insects: a pocket-book guide by Megan Halcroft. Buy it here.

Other relevant resources:

YouTube Australian Bee Playlist

Aussie Bee – lots of information!

Australian Bee Diversity with Dr Tobias Smith

Interview with Dr Kit Prendergast

Building Bee Hotels- video

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