Cutter bees

anenemityAugust 18, 2014

I was almost certain that the perfectly round holes that showed up on my Limelight hydrangea was the work of cutter bees and was willing to accept that damage. But then I noticed that the damage was also on the flowers themselves. I couldn't find any information about cutter bees also taking material from the petals. Can anyone shed any light on this?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Some flowering paniculatas are notorious for attracting bees to the point that some people plant the shrubs away from high traffic areas. I wonder then, could the cutter bees be stealing the leaf material and the other bees be the ones actually damaging the sepals?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:23PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Leaf cutter bees will sometimes take their material from petals. I would think petals larger than hydrangea but I really don't know. If you google 'leaf cutter bee flower petals', images, you'll find some examples of roses, other.

Are you seeing the same perfectly cookie cutter round as on the leaves?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:56PM
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Here's a picture. The holes appear on the bigger blooms as well, but the leaves provide better contrast in this shot. I know the leaf damage in this particular picture is not cutter bees.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 4:50PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

That really does look like leaf cutter bee activity to me. They must really, really like your hydrangea. And you do realize, they may never choose it another year but this year you appear to be twice chosen :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:04AM
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Thanks morz. The only information I could find about cutter bees damaging the petals said that they do this when the flowers are still closed in order to get to the nectar inside. So it's possible this happened at the nursery before I purchased the plant. There are still plenty of flowers on my 3 limelights so I'm not too worried about their appearance. I'd just never seen that before!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:28AM
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