Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Genus Megachile - Leafcutter, Resin, and Mortar Bees

Goo filled leaf roll with magot looking bug. - Megachile The Bee Whisperer - Megachile albitarsis - female Bee Excavating Nest Hole - Megachile pugnata Bee - Megachile Megachilidae, ventral - Megachile mendica - female hymenoptera 1 - Megachile rotundata Megachile  - Megachile inimica Male leafcutter Bee  - Megachile - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Megachilidae (Leafcutter, Mason, and Resin Bees, and allies)
Subfamily Megachilinae
Tribe Megachilini
Genus Megachile (Leafcutter, Resin, and Mortar Bees)
Other Common Names
Leaf-cutter Bee
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Megachile Latreille 1802
Explanation of Names
Greek mega (μεγας) 'large' + cheil- (χειλ) 'lip'(1)(2) (refers to the mouthparts)
~130 spp. in 16 subgenera in our area, 1520 spp. in 56 subgenera worldwide(3)
Typically 7-9 mm, a few to 12 mm or larger(4)
Male rear ends
turn down quickly and end abruptly

T1 segments have 2 “sides”, one that faces forward or faces the thorax and one that faces the top.

In Megachile, the “corner” where the forward side and the top side meet is severe. It creates a flat or concave appearance like a circular shelf.

Contract this with Lithurgopsis

which has a more gradual transition to the "sides" of T1.




Species sculpturalis - Giant Resin Bee


Species rotundata -Alfalfa leafcutter bee


Images needed



Species xylocopoides - Carpenter-mimic Leafcutter



Cosmopolitan [map(3)]
In ne. US most fly May-Oct, but many fly much earlier in warm areas (FL, so. CA)
Polylectic, that is larvae feed on wide variety of pollens.
Life Cycle
Most nest in pre-existent holes in wood. Female typically cuts neat, more-or-less round pieces out of leaves to serve as separators between cells of nest:
The males of most species have enlarged light-colored front legs with a fringe of hairs and with odor glands. They use these features during mating. They partially cover the female's eyes with the hairy legs and the odor glands are placed close to the female's antennae. These adaptations resemble those of some carpenter bees and sphecid wasps. (Apidologie. 1995 Modified Legs of Male Leafcutter Bees)
See Also
Coelioxys--tapered abdomen, lacks pollen basket underneath
Internet References
Fact sheets: U. of Fla., U. of Alberta
Apidologie. 1995 Modified Legs of Male Leafcutter Bees