The Leafcutting bees Insect European wool-carder bee, Anthidium manicatum, builds its nest in cavities in wood or masonry, lining it with a cottonlike fluff “carded” from the leaves and stems of hairy plants. Body length of female 0.4 inches (10 mm); male 0.6 inches (15 mm).
Leafcutting bees Insect Facts:
- Common name: Leaf-cutter bees (leaf cutting bees), mason bees, wool- carder bees.
- Family: Megachilidae
- Suborder: Apocrita
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Class/subphylum: Insecta/Hexapoda
- Number of species: over 3,500 (about 600 U.S.)
- Size: From 0.4 in (10 mm) to 1.6 in (4 cm).
Key features: Body stoutly built, usually hairy, gray or brown, sometimes boldly marked in black and yellow or black and orange; pollen carried on brush of hairs (scopa) on the underside of the abdomen, rather than on the hind legs as in most other bees, tongue long and slender.
Habits: Usually seen collecting pollen from flowers, cutting leaves or gathering other materials to line nests, or digging nests in ground; some species are cuckoos in nests of others.
Breeding: Males of some species are territorial around flowers or nests; females build nests in tunnels in the ground or in natural cavities in wood or stone; leafcutter females cut sections of leaf with which to build cells; mason bees build cells with mud; wool-carder bees collect fluffy plant material or animal hairs as nest-lining materials.
Diet: Adults feed on nectar from a variety of flowers; larvae feed on pollen and nectar collected by adults
Habitat: Most common in open habitats, rarer in dense forest, but present in all terrestrial habitats; several species often common in gardens and may nest inside greenhouses.
Distribution: Worldwide except in very cold or dry zones.