Silvery leafcutter bees

Field Paintings

I spent a few days in early July watching a colony of Silvery leafcutter bees Megachile leachella nesting in a sandy bank on Exmouth seafront. Males patrolled the colony jumping on any females which flew by. The females were flying in with pollen laden abdomens and cut sections of leaves for their nests. A patch of orache and a snowberry bush were favoured sites for leaf cutting. The bee would spend a while selecting a suitable leaf then neatly cut a circular section, occasionally then trimming it to size before flying back to the nest.

It was great to watch the bees nectaring on restharrow, each flower was rocked by the bee whilst extracting the nectar. See video.

John Walters

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