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Brown-Footed Leaf-Cutter Bee

Megachile versicolor

Brown-Footed Leaf-Cutter Bee, Brown-Footed Leaf-Cutting Bee

by ellie.white. All rights reserved

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The Brown-Footed Leaf-Cutter Bee is a medium-sized bee that's common to Europe. These solitary bees are active from mid-June with the highest population peak in July. These bees build their nests by cutting perfect semi-circles from foliage, carrying cuttings between their legs as they fly to the nesting site. They use the leaf material to build nests for their young, frequently choosing garden habitats for their nesting sites. They collect pollen on their stomachs instead of using pollen baskets, and this is done using a structure known as a pollen brush. The latter makes them extremely efficient, collecting roughly 20x more pollen than your average honeybee.
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Plants can look less attractive with parts cut out, but this is entirely based on opinion!
The leaf-cutter bee is an important pollinator and is great to observe in the garden.


These bees are around 10-12mm in length and have a dark brown-black abdomen. The females possess an orange pollen brush beneath the abdomen. Tip: distinguish M. versicolor from M. centuncularis (patchwork leaf-cutter) by their black-tipped pollen brush.


Leaves have semi-circular holes where the bees have snipped away at them.











Europe and North America.

Biological treatment

These bees are effective pollinators, bringing benefits to gardens. Encourage these bees to your garden by planting bee-friendly flowers and fruits.

Chemical treatment

It's not suggested to treat gardens for bees, they provide a key ecosystem service that's vital for plant reproduction!


Nectar-rich flowers and fruit trees.


Lavandula spp.


Crataegus monogyna

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