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Leafcutting Bee carrying a big Piece of Leaf

Leafcutting Bee female with the piece it cut from a leaf, resting on a yew hedge

From the corner of my eye, I caught some movement in the native patch, something flying with a bright green object.

And there it was, a female Leafcutting Bee Megachile perihirta, carrying a piece that it had cut out of a leaf for its nest.

These fascinating bees create brood cells that are usually cup-shaped, formed with neatly cut leaf or petal pieces.

I've never seen a Leafcutting Bee with such a long leaf piece as this bee was carrying. The piece looks longer than the bee! This long piece probably will be used for a side of the brood cell.

After building the sides of the brood cell, the bee will then cut circular pieces from along edges of petals and leaves. The circular pieces are used as brood cell caps between each layer where an egg is laid, and as the final nest plug.

The bee disappeared with the leaf piece into one of these shallow tunnels it dug at the base of a Pozo Blue salvia plant. Because it flew so quickly, I couldn't see into which tunnel it disappeared.

It would be very interesting if all of these holes lead to Leafcutting Bee nests.

I'd like to think that this is the bee's tunnel, with the blossom marking the entrance.


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