The alfalfa leafcutter bee is a solitary bee. Leafcutter bees are important pollinators of many wildflowers. They pollinate fruits and vegetables and are used by commercial growers to pollinate blueberries, onions, carrots and alfalfa.
These bees are cavity nesting. This means they like to make their nests in ready-made cavities or in soft rotting wood.
Once a suitable spot has been found, they will build cells using the pieces of leaf as lining, by overlapping segments of leaf to make a cylindrical cavity that looks a little like a cigar. Each cell is sealed up with a little segment of leaf. Our bee houses offer reeds as a nesting spots for leafcutter bees.
Leafcutters do not aggressively defend nesting areas like honey or bumble bees. Their sting has been described as far less painful than that of a honey bee. Leafcutter bees will only sting if handled and therefore are not a stinging danger to people.
Looking for large area pollination? 10,000 leafcutter bees will cover 1 acre.
SPECIAL NOTES: This species was introduced to North America from Europe after the drop in alfalfa seed production. The introduction of this bee has dramatically improved the alfalfa seed production.