Bee identification

Asked July 28, 2020, 12:47 PM EDT

Hi I'm wondering if this is a mason bee or a leafcutter bee. I am located in Southwest Washington. Thanks!

Clark County Washington

1 Response

This does look like a male leafcutter bee--Possibly the Alfalfa (7-9 mm) or the Red footed Cuckoo leaf cutter bee 9.5-13 mm). Can't really see the anatomical details to be certain. Do you see any nearby plants that have big semicircular bites taken out of the leaf edges? Leafcutter bees: https://bugguide.net/index.php?q=search&keys=leafcutter+bees

However both Mason bees and Leafcutter bees are in the Megachilidae family of bees, and can look very similar. There are about 400 species here in the PNW Mason bees should be done for the season--they're active in the spring, and next year's generation is in cocoons now. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/pnw692_0.pdf