Besides giving growers an additional pollinator, the leafcutting bee increased yields by about 300 pounds an acre.
Growers have said that without the alfalfa leafcutting bee, they wouldn't be in the alfalfa seed business anymore,' Mueller says.
While leafcutting bees were already widely used in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, no one knew how they would survive the hot temperatures and low humidity of California's interior valleys.
in Fresno checks the flight and nesting activity of alfalfa leafcutting bees, which nest in this trailer.
For alfalfa leafcutting bees
, blue orchard bees and other non-colony-dwelling species, however, six weeks or so of flight-worthy adult life means just six weeks or so of pollination, for the whole year.
In other cities, honey bees and leafcutting bees (Megachilidae) were the main visitors (table 1B).
Most cavity-nesting solitary bees such as Hylaeus (Colletidae), and most leafcutting bees and mason bees (Osmia [Megachilidae]) prefer beetle burrows in wood or hollow plant stems.
Cane learned of the bee from Oregon seed grower and bee enthusiast Ron von der Hellen, who told Cane about a newcomer bee--nearly a quarter-inch long--that had taken up residence in wooden nesting boards that yon der Hellen keeps--near his alfalfa fields--as housing for alfalfa leafcutting bees.
Alfalfa leafcutting bees get their name from their propensity to pollinate alfalfa and their adept cutting of plant leaves into neat pieces that they use for making nests for their young, called "brood.
Like their European honey bee relatives, alfalfa leafcutting bees are vulnerable to a disease known as "chalkbrood.
The test was the first using sunflower leafcutting bees
to pollinate hybrid sunflowers in field cages, says Tepedino.