Faithful Leafcutting Bee


The Faithful Leafcutting Bee (Megachile fidelis) is a medium to large leaf-cutting bee known for cutting pieces of leaves and/or flowers for building its nest cells. They are opportunist cavity-nesters and will inhabit a variety of sites like abandoned beetle tunnels or hollow plant stems , garden hoses, and cracks in a wall. The largest populations are found in mountain scrub, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub habitats, although they also enjoy backyard gardens and meadows.

The range of the Faithful Leafcutting Bee extends from South Dakota and Montana west to California and as far north as southern Canada. While adults feed mostly on floral nectars, females also collect and carry pollen on rows of bristle-like hairs underneath their abdomen to provision their nests. They are excellent pollinators of plants in the sunflower family as well as fruits, vegetables, and wildflowers as they tend to “swim” through a flower, depositing important pollen along the way.

Did you know? There are 139 species of leafcutter bees in North America; 77 of these species can be found in California.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Hemberger