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flat-tailed leafcutter bee

flat-tailed leafcutter bee (Megachile mendica)
Photo © Rob Curtis, The Early Birder

Features and Behaviors

The female of this species is about one-third to one-half inch in length, while the male is slightly smaller. White hairs are abundant on the female’s head. Hairs on the male’s head are yellow-white. Like all bees, they have a thick body with the division between the thorax and abdomen easily seen, four wings, hairs, stocky legs, long antennae and eyes on the side of the head.

This species is found statewide. Leafcutter bees paper their nest with pieces of leaves. These are solitary bees with huge jaws that nest in the soil. These bees are active from April through September. The pollen-collecting hairs on leafcutting bees are on the underside of the abdomen, not on the legs, as is the case in most other bees.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Megachilidae

Illinois Status: common, native