Summer is here in southwest MO which means it’s time for leafcutter bees! Leafcutter bees are the hot-weather-loving counterparts to spring’s mason bees. Instead of mud, they cap their tubes with bits of leaves, flowers, and other plant matter. Here on the tree farm, we’ve just started seeing these sweet pollinators move in. They love our perennial native garden, giving us lots of photo ops!
Leafcutter bees are superb for pollinating summer crops like melons and cucumbers. You may notice their presence by circular holes cut into soft leaves. Unlike your typical mason bee, leafcutter bees can have multiple generations every season. You may notice them emerge in July or early August only to start the cycle anew!
Beestras make a welcome home for all kinds of different native bees. Since they’re all quite gentle, different species are happy to live among one another. While your mason bees will prefer the larger tubes in your nursery, leafcutter bees will reside in the smaller ones, making it easy for them to live in harmony.
We love the fact that different bees thrive during different parts of the year. Some of our own Beestras that have been collecting dust all spring (metaphorically speaking, of course) have started seeing lots of action in the last couple weeks thanks to leafcutter bees!
If you see your own leafcutter bees, it’s time to celebrate! Send us pics of pollinators or nursery activity at firstname.lastname@example.org and they might get featured on our website or social media!
A sweet leafcutter bee loving on some asters in our front yard.
These aren't your typical mud-capped mason bee nests... this is leafcutter territory! (not that they're territorial... just to be clear)
Perfectly circular holes... further evidence of leafcutter activity.
Ames Chiles is a native bee enthusiast from the Ozarks and co-founder of BeeFoster. She studied biology at Missouri State University and followed her passion for learning about our natural world to the west coast. Upon moving back to the area she began to invest her time in land stewardship and sustainable business, eventually starting a company. BeeFoster is a solution to an immediate and pressing issue of a declining bee population. This mission is what steers her path forward and gets her into the garden everyday. Well, that and her dog Bingo Wayne-Gretzky Chiles.