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FAMILY MEGACHILIDAE - Leafcutter Bees and Resin Bees

Leafcutter bees are medium size and are common in Brisbane gardens. They are solitary bees. They are visitors of different flowering plants. They have long tongues which allow them to reach the nectar in tubular flowers. Of course they feed on shallow flowers as well. 

Bees in family Megachilidae have the stout body and large head. They are black in colour, some have orange abdomen. Leafcutter Bees usually have relatively flat abdomen while Resin Bees have long cylindrical abdomen.

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Sometimes we find circular holes in soft-leaved plants, these are made by the female Leafcutter Bee which uses the leaf to build her nest. Resin Bee female usually builds nest in existing cavity. She builds nest by  resin, gum or mud. 

Both Leafcutter Bee and Resin Bee females provide eggs with pollen and nectar. The eggs hatch into larvae and they feed on the pollen and nectar before pupating.


Leafcutter Bee
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Megachile sp., body length 15mm
We sometimes find the bee on flower during summer. The bee has a relatively flat body. Its thorax and head are hairy. The top of abdomen is smooth, with white and black striped colour. The abdomen bottom is bright yellow in colour. Sometimes we find circular holes in soft-leaved plants, these are made by the female Leafcutter Bee which uses the leaf to build her nest. Please also visit this page.
 
 
? Leafcutter Bee 
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? Megachile sp., ody length 12mm
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Gold-tipped Leafcutter Bee
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Megachile (Eutricharaea) chrysopyga, body length 15mm
We sometimes find this Leafcutter Bee on flower during summer. The bee has a relatively flat body. Its thorax and head are hairy. The top of abdomen is smooth, with white and black striped colour. The abdomen bottom is bright yellow in colour. Please also visit this page for more details.
 
 
Fire-tailed Resin Bee
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Megachile (Callomegachile) mystaceana (Chalicodoma mystaceana), body length 15mm
Fire-tailed Resin Bee has black head and thorax. Its abdomen is distinctively bright, orange-brown in colour. This is a solitary bee and build nest by resin, gum or mud in enclosed spaces such as space between folds of fabric and old Mud-Dauber Wasp nest. They will nest in drilled wooden blocks too. We have more informstion and pictures in this page.
 
 
Gold-barred Resin Bee
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Megachile leucopyga, body length 10mm
The bee has a relatively flat body. Its thorax and head are hairy. The abdomen is white and black colour striped. There is the bright orange spot on the tip of abdomen. We sometimes find this bee resting on grass during summer evening. Please visit this page for more pictures and information.
 
 
Resin-dauber Bee
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Anthidiellum or Chalicodoma sp., body length 12mm 
We found those resin cells in Anstead Forest on March 2009. They were attached on a large gum tree trunk about one meter above ground. We collected them by cutting with the bark, brought them home and check what would come out. Please check this page for the details. 
 

Reference:
1. Native Bees of the Sydney region, a field guide - Anne Dollin, Michael Batley, Martyn Robinson & Brian Faulkner, Australian Native Bee Research Centre. P44.
2. Bees - family Megachilidae - lifeunseen.com, by Nick Monaghan.
3. Megachilidae - PaDIL, Pests and Diseases Image Library.
4. Family MEGACHILIDAE - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study.

 
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Last updated: February 27, 2011.