Leafcutter Bee Megachile species
There are about 16 species of leafcutting bees in Belgium and about 13 in Holland. Their body is much more flexible than that of other bees. They can fold it in such a way that their rear end with the sting is at the same position as the head is! Another feature that distinguishes them from other bees is a kind of hairy brush under their body. This brush helps to carry pollen from plant to plant, thus making leafcutting bees perfect pollinators. They are even used in the greenhouses for pollinating. One type of leafcutting bees is being exported to greenhouses in Australia for the culture of alfalfa. Their nests are built underground or in old beetle holes in wood. The bees cut out pieces of leaves and take these into their nests to to build nursery compartments. Some bees make 10 or even more nursery compartments in each hallway. The leafcutting bees in our garden are very small and we have not yet determined which species it actually is.