Cutter bees on calycanthus

I have leaf cutter bees on my calycanthus all of a sudden biting perfect holes in the leaves. What do I do?

Lucky you! It could be that a neighbour got a nesting box of leaf cuter bees from the Mason Bee program (like we did). Yes the bees will cut some holes but the good pollination work they are doing outweighs the slight damage to the leaves, at least in my opinion.


The leaf cutting habits of these bees will not affect your plants. They are solitary bees in the genus Megachile. The best thing to do is watch for the following behaviour. The females quickly cut into leaf, grasping the chewed leaf section under their abdomen, then fly off to a crevice (e.g., hollow plant stem or ground burrow) to line a nest for an egg. She will leave pollen and perhaps some nectar as food for the larva, then cap off that cell, and start a new cell until the cavity is filled. The larva will pupate over winter and emerge the next spring as an adult.

Leafcutter bees are highly effective pollinators because they gather pollen under their abdomen, not on their legs like many other bees. Because of this attribute, the pollen is spread more easily among plants.

For a few years in our yard, the bees favoured an epimedium as a leaf source. Then they liked a Western crabapple. This year, they are favouring a saskatoon and an epimedium.