Alfalfa leafcutter bee management in Canada

publication date: Mar 25, 2011
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Bee World Vol.68 (4) 1987 pp. 168-178
Article Title

Alfalfa leafcutter bee management in Canada


K W Richards


This article elaborates on the lecture given by Dr Ken Richards, guest speaker at the IBRA Annual General Meeting in Cardiff this year.

The potential of the alfalfa leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), as an efficient and effective pollinator of alfalfa (lucerne) was first recognized when it was introduced into Canada in 1961 by the late G A Hobbs of the Lethbridge Research Station, Several bumble bee and native leafcutter bee species will also pollinate alfalfa, but their populations fluctuate widely from year to year making them unreliable for use in the alfalfa seed-production industry. Honeybees have proved to be ineffective pollinators of alfalfa under Canadian conditions. Since 1961, improved management of the 'domesticated' leafcutter bee has resulted in a steady expansion of the alfalfa seed and leafcutter bee industries

KeywordsAlfalfa Leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), pollinator 
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