If you wonder what is cutting circular holes around the margins of your leaves, then it’s likely to be the solitary leaf-cutter bee.
The longer cuts are used for wrapped around the chamber. The female will then provision the chamber and lay an egg. The circular cuts are used to seal off the chamber. The egg hatches into a grub.
The grub eats the pollen, pupates and later emerges as a bee.
The female leafcutter bees select leaves that are bendable and not too heavy to carry.
Leaf cutter bee damage to leaves
Bees are vital for pollination. You can buy leafcutter bee houses to attract the bees to your garden. The leaf-cutter bees are solitary and unlike honey bees do not swarm like honey bees so they are little or no danger to humans or pets.
Bees are vital for pollination.
Leaf-cutter bee house
You can buy leafcutter bee houses to attract the bees to your garden.
Leafcutter bee house. Leaf cutter bees like hollow tubes and bamboo are ideal. They also excavate tunnels in flower pots where light gritty compost is used.
Leaf-cutter bee chambers
Here I’ve cut open a bamboo cane to reveal the leaf-cutter bee nest chambers. Row of leaf-cutter bee chambers lined with cut leaves. The male will be nearest the exit
The female has used the circular cuts to seal off the ends of the chamber, whereas the longer cuts are wrapped around the sides. The adult bee will provision the chamber with pollen and lay an egg. The larva feeds of the pollen.
The female larva are the first to be layed and are deepest in the line. This means that if the nest is predated by a woodpecker, the feamles have a better chance of avoiding being eaten. The male larva is nearst the exit and will be the first to be eaten.
Leaf-cutter bee larva inside chamber, eating the pollen provided by the bee
Although this larva will probably die, I carefully replaced the bamboo and sealed it with wax to keep the chambers intact and dry.
Leaf-cutterbee damage to a rose
Leaf damage on rose by leaf cutter bees