Alfalfa Leafcutting Bees (Megachile rotundata)
There are approximately 35 individuals registered to possess ALCBs in Montana, all of whom are alfalfa seed producers. Alfalfa leafcutting bees are primarily used for the production of alfalfa seed. Yield increases of two to three times are common when enough ALCB are present.
Alfalfa leafcutting bees are a type of solitary bee species - a much different life cycle compared to that of the honey bee. Although each female ALCB constructs her own nest and only tends to her own progeny, this species is gregarious and several thousand nests can be kept in close proximity to one another. These nest structures often look like large sheds and can be seen out in the middle of alfalfa fields across Montana.
The Montana ALCB Program has also provided analytical services to producers in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the Dakotas.
The Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee page provides background and program information on ALCBs and ALCB registration and certification.