broad-handed leafcutting bee

(Megachile latimanus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

broad-handed leafcutting bee

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread

Flight/Season

May to October

Habitat

Dry; savannas, grasslands, and agricultural fields.

Size

Female: ½ to 9 16

Male: ½

          Photo by Bill Reynolds

Identification

This is a stout, moderately-sized, dark-colored, solitary, ground-nesting bee.

The female is ½ to 9 16 long. The head is black and is densely covered around and below with short, pale yellowish hairs. The mandibles are enlarged and scissor-like with beveled edges and 5 teeth. The antennae are black and have 12 segments. The tongue is elongated.

The body is entirely black. The thorax is densely covered with long yellowish hairs and copious shorter black hairs. There are six hardened plates (tergites) on the upper (dorsal) portion of the abdomen (metasoma). The first and second tergites (T1 and T2) are densely covered with long, erect, pale yellowish hairs. The hairs near the front (apex) of T3 and T4 are black. Most of the hairs on T5 are black. The hairs on T6 are mostly pale yellowish.

The branched, pollen-carrying hairs (scopae) on the under (ventral) side of the abdomen are yellowish-orange.

The wings are semitransparent with brownish-black veins. The broad lobe at the base of the hindwing (jugal lobe) is shorter than the narrow lobe adjacent to it (submedian lobe).

The male is slightly smaller. It has seven tergites and 13 antenna segments.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Regurgitated nectar and shed pollen of legume flowers

 
Adult Food

Nectar and pollen of legume flowers

 
Life Cycle

After mating, the female locates a nest site usually in a hole bored in wood or a rock crevice. She then cuts small circular discs of leaves, rolls them between her legs, and transports them to the nest one at a time. The discs are glued together to form a cylinder. The cylinder is then filled with all the nectar and pollen the larva will need throughout its development. She then lays a single egg on top of the food and seals the cylinder with another leaf cutting. She continues the process, laying one egg per day for usually about 28 days. Fertilized eggs produce female bees, unfertilized eggs produce male bees.

After hatching the larva will molt several times before pupating and finally metamorphosing into an adult. The adult overwinters in the nest, emerging in the spring.

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29.


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)

 

Suborder:

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)

 

Infraorder:

Aculeata

 

Superfamily:

Apoidea (apoid wasps, bees, sphecoid wasps)

 

Family:

Megachilidae (leafcutting bees)

 

Subfamily:

Megachilinae

 

Tribe:

Megachilini

 

Genus:

Megachile

 

Subgenus:

Xanthosarus

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

broad-handed leafcutting bee

broad-handed leaf-cutter bee

leafcutting bee


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

tergum; tergite

The upper (dorsal), hardened plate on a segment of the thorax or abdomen of an arthropod. Plural: terga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Bill Reynolds


The Milkweed was a buzz this day with many different types of bees and butterflies.

  broad-handed leafcutting bee   broad-handed leafcutting bee
       
  broad-handed leafcutting bee    

       
       

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Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this insect.

Tammi
Jul-Aug 2014

Location: New Brighton

Leaf cutting bees have been busy on my wisteria vine!


Bill Reynolds
8/5/2003

Location: St. Louis Co.

The Milkweed was a buzz this day with many different types of bees and butterflies.

broad-handed leafcutting bee


Bill Reynolds
7/31/2003

Location: St. Louis Co.

broad-handed leafcutting bee


     
     
 

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