I had been lamenting that the bee condo I built last year would go unoccupied this year, but I was surprised yesterday to discover that a swarm of leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) had moved in. Leafcutters are native bees in the western U.S. and important pollinators. They build nests in soft wood, looking for spots with narrow tunnels, similar to those in my bee condo. Like the orchard mason bees I had hoped to attract with the condo, leafcutters are solitary insects and not particularly aggressive. Their one flaw is the leaf cutting that earned them their common name. I haven’t noticed any plants that seem particularly harmed by the leaf-cutting — but I have noticed happily many bees buzzing around my flower and vegetable gardens recently.
Welcome back, bees!