Peek a bee! A male leafcutter bee friends on the photographer. (Photograph by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Nicely, that is one thing you do not see day-after-day: a leafcutter bee sunning itself on a milkweed leaf.
The narrowleafed milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis, beckons monarch butterflies (the host plant), aphids, praying mantids and various different bugs, however now and again, you may see a leafcutter bee. Each the plant and the bee are natives.
This male bee (beneath) spent the afternoon patrolling for females, however it rested in between.
It is a harmful place to relaxation when there is a predator (praying mantis) round, however all ended nicely.
Leafcutter bees, spp., so named as a result of the females lower leaves and petals (completely spherical holes!) to line their nests, are smaller than honey bees–and a lot quicker. They’re simply recognizable by the black-white bands on their stomach.
The females do all of the work. They collect pollen and nectar, make the nests from the leaf and petal fragments, and lay eggs. They seal the egg chambers with the leaves or flower petals.
The male’s job is to breed. And generally, you may see one sunning itself on a milkweed leaf.
Of the 4000 bee species identified in the US, about 1600 reside in California. The leafcutter bee is only one of them. The household, Megachilidae, consists of these leafcutting bees, Megachile angelarum, M. fidelis and M. montivaga; the alfalfa leafcutting bee, M. rotundata; the Mason bee, Osmia coloradensis; and the blue orchard bee (BOB), Osmia lignaria propinqua.
For extra info on California’s bees, learn California Bees and Blooms: A Information for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday), the work of UC-affiliated scientists,