Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Artful Handiwork of the Leaf Cutter Bee

This week, I've noticed an abundance of leaf cutter bee damage in the gardens I work on. Every year in June, dozens of concerned gardeners bring baggies of leaves bearing perfect semi-circular holes to the nursery. This is the mark of the Leaf Cutter Bee and there isn't much to be done short of a cheese cloth wrap (I know I know, hot pepper my experience, fail!).

I've always loved the patterns that the bees chew out of the leaves. The perfect holes can lend even a very dense tree or shrub an lacy, airy look. They seem to love cercis, roses, and azaleas/small-leaved rhodies

Leaf cutter bees are important pollinators and are native! They don't eat the leaf fragments but rather cut them out and use them to form net cells. Usually, there is no permanent damage to the host plant. They just look funny for awhile. Just one of those things...

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