The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

June’s Featured Bee

4 Comments

Happy first day of summer! If there ever was a time for bees, it’s now! The month of June in my North American Native Bee Calendar purchased from the Great Sunflower Project, features the Leafcutter Bee, genus Megachile. They emerge in late spring through summer. About 140 species of this bee occur in the United States and Canada.

Leafcutter bees are medium sized with dark abdomens and varying degrees of light to silver colored banding. Males have more rounded abdomens and will guard a group of mate-attracting flowers from other male bees. Most species of leafcutter bees nest in pre-existing cavities in wood or hollow plant stems. The female will chew off pieces of leaves to construct her nest. So, if you spy leaves with big rounded holes in them, it just may be a leafcutter bee at work!

To view photos of leafcutter bees, visit http://bugguide.net/node/view/7751.

You might spot a leafcutter bee in your garden if you grow the following: grindelia (gumweed), erigeron (fleabane), gaillardia (blanketflower), symphyotrichum (aster) and helianthus (sunflower).

Daisy Fleabane (Weed or bee-friendly flower?)

This week is National Pollinator Week. To celebrate, try to choose plants for your garden that will support bees and other pollinators.

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

4 thoughts on “June’s Featured Bee

  1. Weed? It's all in context. There are places I let this plant grow. It's not ugly, and the bees do like it!

  2. Hello,My leaf-cutter bees love bougainvillea and rose leaves. I was fortunate to have caught one in the middle of it's work. It was just fascinating to watch.

  3. Like Noelle, I mostly find those neat circles in our rose leaves.

  4. Thank you for your comments! Growing up I was led to believe that daisy fleabane was a weed. Now, I have a good patch of it in my butterfly garden bed. I am trying to learn more about "natives" which tend to be synonymous with weeds in a lot of minds. I have left more things to grow in my garden – if they're pretty and have a flower why wouldn't you? They do attract more creatures and offer more diversity. I will have to keep a close eye on my new rose leaves Noelle and Elephant's Eye! Wish I could also say bougainvillea but that will not survive the winter! Very interesting.

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