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)


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
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Members' Notes:


On Sep 25, 2017, lightyellow from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL wrote:

These are cute little guys and are important native pollinators, they also are less aggressive than other bee species and are unlikely to sting. I of course wouldnt recommend an allergic person to futz with them but I have accidentally held one before and it didn't do anything and I also shoo them from my redbud and they don't do anything... same cannot be said of honeybees!

Some notes on their leaf-cutting behavior:
They don't take leaves year-round, only during times of nest building in my experience [did it June to July here in Florida].

They really favor thin, flat leaves for their use and seem to like my American redbud a little too much but they also eagerly cut up Desmodium incanum weeds (a recent invasive in my yard that I don't completely cul... read more


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.


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!


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.


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