Leaf cutter bee

Leaf cutter bees may leave unsightly holes in leaves as they cut small semi-circles to seal in their eggs; but these excellent pollinators are a true gardener's friend.

leaf cutter bee
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With 266 species of bees in the UK it can be really hard to identify buzzing garden insects. Many of these are essential pollinators and the gardener’s friends. One solitary bee leaves a very identifiable calling card. The leaf cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) actually cuts out little semi circles of leaf to seal in its developing eggs inside a hollow cavity. It stands on the leaf edge and cuts around itself to create a doily effect on the leaves and carries the disc of leaf back to its nest where it glues them over the cell where it has laid an egg.

While some gardeners prefer perfect foliage and consider the effect unsightly, others are more philosophical considering the presence of the leaf cutters a brilliant addition to the gardens pollinating army. Renowned to be quite messy as they collect protein rich pollen for their babes, the leaf cutter bee makes an excellent pollinator and is a genuine gardener’s friend.

Even if it disfigures a few leaves on roses and other leafy shrubs it won’t affect their health and the plants will recover easily so there is no need to spray them with pesticides. Live and let live.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
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