Leaf Cutter Bee

“Leaf Cutter Bee”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

For the past three years, I have noticed circles being cut out of my Iceberg rose’s leaves.  A little research showed that this was being done by leaf cutter bees.  They cut out circles from leaves to build their nests.  The are supposed to make there nests in rose canes, trees, or wood on houses, anything they can hollow out. 

Just last week, I noticed again that my Iceberg roses, and only my Iceberg roses, had circles cut out.  However, I have never seen any bees hanging around them.  I was very frustrated because the leaves just look terrible.   Then, yesterday, while cleaning out the holly ferns, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  It was a bee, about the size of a honeybee, flying by with a piece of green.  But, instead of flying to a plant, tree, or house siding, it was going into the mouth of my egret statue.  You will have to look closely at the mouth to see the blur of bee and green.

 

Leaf Bee II(redu)

 

A better picture of a leaf cutter bee hauling a piece of a leaf was posted last year on Robin’s Nesting Place Blog.  Check it out here.  Her picture is amazing. 

Anyway, here is what my rosebush’s leaves look like after a visit from little Miss Leafcutter.

 

Rose Leaf I (redu)

 

Rose Leaf II (redu)

 

It is amazing what perfect, little circles are cut out by this bee.  If you are finding the same thing on your leaves, you might want to check out this site.  I was undecided what to do about this situation until I visited this Colorado Extension site.  I was afraid I was going to have a bee hive right outside my front door, but I found these are solitary insects, nonagressive, and important native plant pollinators.  So, this year, it will be able to set up house in my egret, but come winter, I will be sealing up the mouth, and mother leafcutter bee will have to find a new nesting area.