The amazing handiwork of the leafcutter bees makes them one of the most fascinating bees in Australia! The leafcutter bee snips a neat circle or oval from a leaf. She will use these leaf pieces to weave tiny cradles for her eggs inside her nest burrow.
Erica Siegel of Queensland kindly contributed the following amazing photographs about leafcutter bees in action to the Aussie Bee website:
Above: Erica Siegel captured this fantastic close up shot of a leafcutter bee in the process of snipping a piece from a leaf! Notice this bee's powerful mandible or jaw that the bee uses for cutting the leaf pieces.
Above: Another beautiful shot by Erica Siegel of a leafcutter bee in action. Leafcutter bees use these leaf pieces to weave cells for their young inside their nest burrows.
Above: the characteristically uniform cuts made in soft leaves by leafcutter bees.
Above: leafcutter bees carry pollen back to their nests by packing it on an array of stiff bristles underneath the abdomen. The thick pad of pollen being carried by this bee can be seen in this photograph.
"Peter O' captured this furry leafcutter bee snipping a leaf piece for her nest:
Above: leaf cutter bees grasp the leaf pieces with their legs to carry them back to their nests.
Another wonderful leafcutter photograph contributed by 'Peter O':
Above:notice the leafcutter's characteristic thick pad of bristles under the abdomen.
This leafcutter bee is snipping a piece from a rose leaf.
This excellent photograph was contributed by Shirley Woods.
Whilst rose leaves are one of the leafcutter's favourites, other soft leaves that they like to use include Buddleja (above) and wisteria.
The leafcutter bee always cuts extremely neat circles and ovals, unlike caterpillars which leave irregular holes in leaves.
© 1997-2012 Australian Native Bee Research Centre
PO Box 74, North Richmond NSW 2754, Australia