The Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee (Megachile rotundata) is a small insect in the Megachilinae sub-family of solitary, leafcutter bees.
The Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee has a slightly flattened, elongated, shiny, dark-grey to blackish body. The female has white hairs all over her body. The male has white and yellow spots on its abdomen. It has six legs, two pairs of wings, and three body parts: (1) head, (2) thorax, and (3) abdomen. Its wings are translucent (see-through). It has a stinger, but it is generally harmless to humans.
It measures about 1 centimetre (about a quarter of an inch) in length. The males are smaller than the females and look slightly different.
It is native to Europe.
It eats nectar and pollen from flowers. It collects pollen from plants on its hind legs. It is a pollinator, but it does not make honey or honeycombs.
The Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee is solitary, and not social, and therefore it does not live in a community hive. It lives in a nest.
Each female constructs her own tubular-shaped nest in old trees, logs, or tunnels. The nest has separate cells. Each cell contains one pollen and nectar ball and one egg. After the female has laid her eggs, she seals each cell with a circular leaf piece.
[Location of photographs: Paris, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM