What’s been making round holes in my rose leaves?

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Round holes are steadily appearing in leaves around the garden. This rose bush has been particularly savaged.

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Busy, busy, busy: It turns out that Leaf-cutter bees are the makers of the circular holes. Here is one caught in the act of cutting a piece of Hypericum.

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A Leaf-cutter bee filling holes in a bit of drilled tree trunk, stacked against our garage wall. This trunk sat untouched last year, but is nearly full now.

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My super-easy-to-make bee hotel made for the #30DaysWild challenge in June this year. I used a spare breeze block and filled it with hollow stems saved from last year’s teasel, cephalaria, macleaya and lovage.

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The bees cut the leaves to construct cells inside the hollow stem to house their eggs. They spend ages patching the leaves together, gluing them with saliva.

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Just look at those fearsome mandibles!

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This rose seems to be a favourite source of leaves and those mandibles are very efficient at cutting through them. The leaves are rolled between their legs as they are cut, for ease carrying .

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I accidentally disturbed this bee’s entry to the hollow stem it was filling, so it waited on a nearby tree until I got out of the way (providing a perfect photo opportunity for me though)!

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Each cell is also stocked with nectar and pollen, ready for when the larvae hatches.

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Then once sealed off, the cycle begins again for the next cell. Truly busy bees!

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About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in Bees, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to What’s been making round holes in my rose leaves?

  1. Oh wow, I would have never suspected them.

  2. Christina says:

    Happens here too!

  3. Tina says:

    If you provide for wild bees, they come. They’re mostly around anyhow, but still, it’s fun to watch them in action! Great shots!

  4. What a great post! We have bee hotels but I have never seen their guests as clearly as you have shown them!

  5. Chloris says:

    Ain’t Nature wonderful?!

  6. shoreacres says:

    Believe it or not, I often see leaf-cutter bees around the boats. They’ll use the tiny vents on the sides, like this one as home base. Some vents are just for ventilation, so they don’t have wires or such running into them, and they’re perfect for the bees.

    Before I started learning about plants and pollinators, I had to idea what the bees were up to when they came flying in with their cargo of leaf parts.

  7. Sam says:

    Fantastic photos and fascinating info – thank you!

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