Patchwork leaf-cutter bee

Patchwork Leaf-cutter Bee

Patchwork Leaf-cutter Bee ©Gillian Day

Patchwork leaf-cutter bee

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Enw gwyddonol: Megachile centuncularis
The appearance of semi-circular holes in the leaves of your garden plants is a sure sign that the patchwork leaf-cutter bee has been at work. It is one of a number of leaf-cutter bee species present in the UK.

Top facts


Length: 1.3cm

Conservation status


Pryd i'w gweld

April to August


The patchwork leaf-cutter bee is one of a number of small, solitary leaf-cutter bees. 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. The patchwork leaf-cutter bee is on the wing from April to August, and feeds solely on pollen and nectar.

What to look for

The patchwork leaf-cutter bee looks like a dark honey bee, but the underside of its abdomen is orange. It is best recognised by its habit of carrying pieces of leaf back to its nest. There are various species of leaf-cutter bee in the UK that are very difficult to tell apart.

Where to find

Widespread, although less common in the north.

Roeddech chi yn gwybod?

Provide nesting and hibernation sites for leaf-cutter bees in your garden by drilling holes into a piece of dead wood.