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Leaf Cutter Bees

It’s strange how things happen sometimes. I’d not heard of leaf cutter bees, although I was fascinated by leaf cutter ants in the Amazon as a child. Then I got this email from Paul Nanson with a couple of photos

I have only ever grown Cherry tomatoes in the greenhouse never grown any tomatoes outside. So this year bigger Tom’s in the greenhouse and outside same type one packet of seeds loads of plant’s 3 in bags in the greenhouse 3 in a raised bed outside passed them around on the allotment and gave to neighbours as you do. Put myself another 4 in raised beds on the allotment for myself – grandkids love them.

I went down the allotment today and I’ve sent you photos of what I found. No trouble at home or with neighbours just my allotment. Couldn’t find anything on them. It said on packet for indoor and outdoor growing – I cannot remember what they are called and lost the packet. I know Mark everything up, no excuse.

Tomato Plant Leaf Cutter Bee Damage

Tomato Plant Leaf Cutter Bee Damage

Tomato Plant Leaf Cutter Bee Damage Close Up

Tomato Plant Leaf Cutter Bee Damage Close Up – Note the circular bites

Well he had me stumped with this. I wondered if it could be a bird but if it was I’m sure I’d have come across it. Then I thought about a cat – I’ve a particularly mad cat that loves nibbling cucumber leaves – so not too incredible, but hardly likely.

All becomes clear

Then I got another message from Delyse Sanders which led me to looking up leaf cutter bees..

Hello John, I have grown 8 rows of broad beans and to my astonishment hardly any of them have set. So I watched the bees, which have set up home in the compost, and the little bees were sneaking to the back of the flower, snitching from a neat hole! As I’m depending on the harvest and looking forward to new potatoes with beans smothered in oodles of butter, what can I do? Help!

Leaf Cutter Bee

Photo Gideon Pisantry CC BY 3.0

Well I’m afraid I haven’t got a solution to their problem. Leaf cutter bees are, by all accounts, good pollinators and with the declining bee population we need all the bees we can get.

I know it doesn’t make a big difference to a global concern, but if we all make some sacrifices we can affect things.

There’s a rather good article on the RHS site about leafcutter bees.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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