Happy first day of summer! If there ever was a time for bees, it's now! The month of June in my North American Native Bee Calendar purchased from the Great Sunflower Project, features the Leafcutter Bee, genus Megachile. They emerge in late spring through summer. About 140 species of this bee occur in the United States and Canada.
Leafcutter bees are medium sized with dark abdomens and varying degrees of light to silver colored banding. Males have more rounded abdomens and will guard a group of mate-attracting flowers from other male bees. Most species of leafcutter bees nest in pre-existing cavities in wood or hollow plant stems. The female will chew off pieces of leaves to construct her nest. So, if you spy leaves with big rounded holes in them, it just may be a leafcutter bee at work!
To view photos of leafcutter bees, visit http://bugguide.net/node/view/7751.
You might spot a leafcutter bee in your garden if you grow the following: grindelia (gumweed), erigeron (fleabane), gaillardia (blanketflower), symphyotrichum (aster) and helianthus (sunflower).
This week is National Pollinator Week. To celebrate, try to choose plants for your garden that will support bees and other pollinators.