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UK Nature > Bees > Megachile willughbiella
Scientific Name: Megachile willughbiella
Common Name: Leaf-cutter Bee
Megachile willughbiella, more commonly known as a Leaf-cutter Bee, is a small, solitary, leaf cutting bee. Leaf-cutter Bees nest in holes in plant stems, dead wood, cliffs or old walls, and can be seen in gardens. They famously cut discs out of leaves (they particularly like roses), gluing them together with saliva in order to build the 'cells' in which their larvae live. The larvae hatch and develop, pupating in autumn and hibernating over winter.
Leaf-cutter Bees are on the wing from April to August, and feed solely on pollen and nectar; they look like Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) but the underside of its abdomen is orange. It is best recognised by its habit of carrying pieces of leaf back to its nest; semi-circular holes in the leaves of garden plants also denote its presence. There are various species of Megachile in Britain, which can be difficult to tell apart. Widespread in the UK, although less common in the north.
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