Leafcutter Bee - Megachile willughbiella

    Description

    Length 12 to 18 mm. A large leafcutter bee, the males of which have distinctive white flattened front tarsi. Females of this genus can be difficult to identify, even under a microscope. It is the commonest leafcutter bee and the species most likely to be encountered in gardens where it readily uses bee hotels.

    See our ID Aid below below for identifying males.

    Where a photo is surrounded by a red box it means that it is representative of the species but may not be the actual species described.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Males:

    • white, posterior fringe on front tarsi
    • front basitarsi not much longer than wide and broader than the tibia tip
    • hind tibia and tarsi not swollen and tarsi as long or longer than the tibia
    Identification aids

     

    bee id

    Recording advice

    Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.

    Habitat

    Often found in gardens. It nests in sunny, sheltered locations in crevices in dead wood or in the ground, sometimes using the soil in flower pots.

    When to see it

    June to August.

    Life History

    Female Megachile bees construct nests of larval cells from leaves and provision each cell with a mixture of pollen and nectar for the young. The larva feed on this food store before overwintering and emerging the following summer.

    UK Status

    Common.

    VC55 Status

    Common.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map