Leafcutter bees are one of the most fascinating insects in the garden. You will probably never see them but you will definitely know that they have visited by the intricate holes that they cut in the leaves. It almost looks like someone has used a paper holepunch on the rose bushes!
Some gardeners get very annoyed at leafcutter bees but actually they are absolutely harmless and don’t have a sting like honey bees. In fact, as they fly from leaf to leaf, they carry pollen which is the reason that they are a ‘good bug’ for the garden. The only damage that they do is cut very neat circles out of the edges of the leaves. It’s the perfect shape of the circles that tells you that it was leafcutter bees and not caterpillars; caterpillars are not that neat!
The leafcutter bee clutches the edge of the leaf then uses its powerful jaws to neatly chew around the edge of a circle or crescent of the leaf. When it gets to the end, it flies back to its nest with the piece of leaf held firmly between its legs and it uses this to line the inside of their nests and to weave tiny cradles for their eggs
Take a look at your own roses to see if there are leafcutter bees in your garden and instead of being annoyed at them, think of how amazingly strong they are to be able to fly with large pieces of leaf. Think about it. Could you cut an enormous piece of cardboard with your teeth out of a box that is bigger than you and then carry it back to your bedroom?
This is the Amazonian Leafcutter Bee which is cutting the leaf to take back to line its nest.