The Leaf-cutter Bee megachile centuncularis is one of a number of small, solitary leaf-cutter bees. Leaf-cutter Bees nest in holes in plant stems, dead wood and old walls, and are usually seen in established gardens.
They famously cut discs out of leaves (they particularly like roses), gluing them together with saliva in order to build the 'cells' in which their larvae live. The larvae hatch and develop, pupating in autumn and hibernating over winter.
The Leaf-cutter Bee is on the wing from April to August and feeds solely on pollen and nectar.
The Leaf-cutter looks like a Honey Bee but the underside of its abdomen is orange. It is best recognised by its habit of carrying pieces of leaf back to its nest; semi-circular holes in the leaves of garden plants also denote its presence. There are various species of leaf-cutter bee in Britain, which are very difficult to tell apart.
Often overlooked, solitary bees and wasps are important pollinators of all kinds of plants, including fruit trees.