This report provides a brief overview of the diversity, natural history, conservation status, and management of North American leafcutter bees of the genus Megachile. Leafcutter bees are stingless, solitary bees. Their common name refers to the pieces of leaves or flowers that the females clip off and use to line their nests.
Leafcutter bees occur in a wide range of habitats. They are efficient pollinators in some ecosystems but their importance in most habitats is poorly known. Most have not been well studied except for a few species used for crop pollination. For example, most alfalfa is now pollinated by the alfalfa leafcutter bee (M. rotundata), a species introduced from Europe. Leafcutter bees may become increasingly important pollinators in both agricultural and natural systems in light of ongoing declines of honeybees and native pollinators.
- Young, B. E., D. F. Schweitzer, G. A. Hammerson, N. A. Sears, M. F. Ormes, and A. O. Tomaino. 2016. Conservation and Management of North American Leafcutter Bees. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia.