Photo by Melody

Leaf-cutting Bee (Lithurgus apicalis)

Order: Hymenoptera (hy-men-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Megachilidae
Genus: Lithurgus (li-THUR-jus) (Info)
Species: apicalis (a-pik-AY-liss) (Info)


1 positive
2 neutrals
1 negative


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Las Vegas, Nevada (2 reports)
Brooklyn, New York
Wickliffe, Ohio
Crane, Texas
Houston, Texas

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Leaf-cutting Bee (Lithurgus apicalis) by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf

Thumbnail #2 of Leaf-cutting Bee (Lithurgus apicalis) by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf

Thumbnail #3 of Leaf-cutting Bee (Lithurgus apicalis) by Xenomorf

Member Notes:

Neutral kennyso On Oct 16, 2006, kennyso from Markham, ON
(Zone 5b) wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, these bees do not do damage [not to rose at least] but they will land on a rose leaf (not the petals) and cut a perfect circle in the middle of the leaf. Interesting bug, but I'm not sure I would want my rosees to have leaves with a circle in each! They do absolutely NO harm to the whole plant's health

Positive jvivier On Dec 21, 2008, jvivier from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

The cutter-Bee is an infestation in Southern Nevada. It devastates
all trees or bushes with tender leaves or flowers. Many of my lagerstroemias (Crape Mirtyle ) have died for being deprived of most
of their leaves.
This bee is very difficult to kill because of its speed and I don't know
any chemical that can fight it.
Their action is simple: the bee cuts a first almost perfect circle of
leaf and takes it to the bottom of a hole in the trunk of a dead tree; this as food for the larvae it lays right after. Then it cuts another piece that it uses to obturate the hole to protect the larvae. I don't have a picture of a ravaged tree but next summer I will be spoiled for choice.

Negative janiemae1 On Mar 10, 2009, janiemae1 from Crane, TX wrote:

Not sure if this is the kind of leaf cutter bee we have , but it does do alot of damage to trees, shrubs, etc. I have not found anything to get rid of these guys. If anyone comes up with some way to kill, or repel, please pass it on. I hate these little guys!

Neutral BarbMarch58 On May 23, 2009, BarbMarch58 from Wickliffe, OH wrote:

For the first time in 20 years of outdoor gardening, I found the leafcutter bee feasting merrily on our Rudbeckia leaves (bloom time has not hit us yet in Wickliffe, OH). It was able to make fairly perfect circles in a number of leaves - and in quick order. I'm not happy to see these for my plants' health and certainly hope they don't sting humans.

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