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Leafcutter Bees

In Ohio, we have thousands of native bee species, one family of which is called the Leafcutter Bee. Leafcutter bees are solitary bees (not living in colonies or hives), who nest in pre-existing cavities made by other animals or insects, or nest in the ground. They cut oval and circular pieces out of leaves in order to create nesting cells for their eggs—each cell containing a single leafcutter bee egg, as well as a pollen ball for the larvae to eat once it has hatched.

 

 

If you look closely at the photos taken at Forest Run MetroPark, can you see the two different shapes that the bee has cut from the leaves? Ovals are used to create the lining of the lining of the nest cell, while the circular pieces are used as the “door.” You can tell in some of the photos that there are more ovate leaf pieces that were cut than circular pieces.

These bees are very beneficial for agricultural crops, as well as native plants! Farmers utilize leafcutter bees to pollinate specific crops, such as blueberries and alfalfa.

Don't forget to keep a look out for next Monday's mystery!