Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Leafcutter Bee

This is an important local leafcutter bee, Megachile relativa, in a lino block print on Japanese kozo (mulberry) paper with yellow and translucent washi chine collé (collaged fine Japanese paper). Each print is 15.2 cm (6 inches) square. The print is one of only 16.

Because the Megachile bees do not make honey, people are often unaware of them, though it is one of the largest genera of bees, with well over 500 species in over 50 subgenera, and they play an important role in pollinisation. We think of bees in hives and making honey; these bees are solitary and make no honey. They are known as leafcutter bees since the build their nests with tidy little pieces which they cut from leaves. They build these nests in cavities in the ground or hollow twigs or similar tunnels. These bees are cosmopolitan, spanning most world habitats. Here in Canada they are common up to subarctic zones.

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