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Leafcutter bees

Symptoms

Bees snip out elliptical sections of leaf margins, particularly on roses, and use them to make thimble-shaped cells in their nests. However, they can remove quite a large area of leaf.
Find it on: roses, wisteria, epimediums
Time to act: summer to autumn

Overview

Nesting female bees cut out immediately obvious elliptical shapes from the edges of a leaf to make their cells for laying eggs. Since one female might need 20 or so cells, that's a lot of leaf cutting, particularly when the bee keeps returning to the same plant. It's only a significant problem when young plants are being defoliated or you're growing specimens for a show.
Solution
Bees snip out elliptical sections of leaf margins, particularly on roses, and use them to make thimble-shaped cells in their nests. However, they can remove quite a large area of leaf.
Organic
Wait for the solitary female and swish her away. Try to avoid killing the bees because they're invaluable friends to gardeners, pollinating flowers.



Discuss this problem

Talkback: Leafcutter bees
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Sparkimarj 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I have this problem on one of my rose cuttings, but don't mind it now I know it's a bee and presumably it will have had enough soon and leave my rose alone!

bill.welsford 24/11/2011 at 15:28

busy bee's have totally defoliated a climbing rose which hasn't flowered for 3 years, but other roses are fine. Spraying with insecticide hasn't helped. will cover with net this year and see what happens.

rasmus 24/11/2011 at 15:29

"Wait for the female and swish her away" You can't be serious! Is this really the best advice you can give?

Little rich 30/01/2012 at 09:13

Our leaf cutter bees have made their home in the hollow arm of a garden bench. I don't mind in the least although the rose bush leaves are somewhat decimated. The bees worked very hard and were a joy to. Watch. Hope they stay with us !

Standen1 03/02/2012 at 22:24

year before last we had our fuschias attacked - initially didn't know what this was and panic set in....however, we left alone and the following year the plants came up again with no problems. Amazing how a bee can leave such a perfect shaped 'bite'!

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