Leafcutter bees and their emergence

People are quite excited about being able to buy Leafcutter bees cocoons, since it is a bee that pollinates summer crops.

People that already have Mason bees think that emergence time is about the same as mason bees.  This is far from the truth.

Firstly, mason bees overwinter as adults bees.  This means that as soon as the weather warms up, the bees emerge and fly and pollinate(in early spring) Leafcutter bees overwinter as pupae- one developmental stage before the full adult bee.  This means that the Leafcutter bee in spring BEGINS her development to full adult.  In Alberta and the Canadian prairies, this bee is used for alfalfa pollination.  These commercial alfalfa farms incubate their Leafcutter bee cocoons for 20-31  days at 30C (86F).

So no wonder when Leafcutter bees are set out on the west coast where warm weather can be iffy, the bee takes 2 months to develop and emerge.

I just heard from someone in WA whose Leafcutter bees emerged in August.  In Vancouver they emerged in late July.  Earlier emergence requires artificial incubation to speed up the process.

Our Double Season homes come with Leafcutter bees as well, they will be ready in the Spring

Dr. Margriet

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