The Leaf-Cutter Bee

Beebombs have a mission, a mission to re-create Britain's lost wild habitat and #bringthebeesback. 

Today we take a closer look at the Leaf-Cutter Bee. Delicate, skilful and displaying a range of astonishing behaviour. The Leaf-Cutter Bee expands our view of what nature is capable of. 

Long Horned Bee (Male) Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Common Name: The Leafcutter Bee

Latin Name: (Megachile)


The Genus Megachile, solitary nesting bees, contains nearly 1500 recognised species of Leafcutter Bee with 7 found in the UK. They have evolved to work the most efficiently with the local flora. It's the female that displays the amazing nest building behaviour, some chew and pulp the plant material to create their nests, whilst some cut the leaves and petals neatly and build their nests from the carried away parts of the plant. It's exceptional to watch and a fascinating direction for evolution to have taken these insects. 

Leaves cut by a Leafcutter Bee

Leaves cut by a Leafcutter Bee


With a wing-span of 8-14mm and covered in brown or orange hairs, active from late Spring to late Summer, they'll be found, either in naturally occurring tunnels within rotting wood or they will create tunnels in dry soil. Food is gathered and put into the tunnel before each cell, containing a single egg, the cells are capped by the leaf material to seal them in. 

Leaf-Cutter-Megachile-ligniseca-female-carrying-leaf (1).jpg

Concern Level: Low

Distribution: Widespread throughout the UK, although less common in the North. 

Ben Davidsonspecies, bees