A male leaf-cutter has been patrolling in the garden the last few days, when the weather has been quite hot. Leaf-cutters are summer bees, emerging from their nests at the end of May-beginning of June and dissapearing for the year at the end of August. The male has been circling around the broom and other flowers, in a regular path, landing to bask for no more than two shots in a sunny leaf or flower. Occasionally, he stopped to feed on some bluebells.
WAB for confirming the ID). The males bear white and golden 'boxing gloves' on their forelegs, which are enlarged concave-shaped furry tarsi, contain glands producing odor chemicals and are involved in mating.
Females, however, can and do repel advancing males. Sexually dimorphic forelegs of males appear in various bees (some leaf-cutter and carpenter bees) and many sphecid wasps, and are all used during mating to cover female eyes, suggesting a common function.
Wittmann, D. and Blochtein, B. (1995). Why males of leafcutter bees hold the females' antennae with their front legs during mating Apidologie, 26 (3), 181-196 DOI: 10.1051/apido:19950302