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  Wool Carder Bees

Male Wool Carder Bee - Photo  Copyright 2007 David Taylor
Photo: David Taylor

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Latin name: Anthidium manicatum

Size: Wingspan approximately 20mm. Body length approx 10mm

Found mainly in the southern half of Wales and England. Localised in other parts of the UK. 

Months seen: May to September.

Habitat: Gardens, meadows and fields

Food: Nectar

Special features: Wool carder bees are mostly black with some orange fur. The sides of the abdomen and legs have a few yellow markings.

Click for a better viewThe males set up territories around a group of flowers, defending them when other males come close. When a female lands on one of his flowers he flies in and mates with her.

Wool Carder bees nest in holes of woodwork, walls and stones. They can be encouraged to nest in gardens by providing tubular nest holes and growing downy plants such as Lamb's Ears.

Click for a better viewThe name comes from their habit of scraping hair from leaves, which is carried in a ball beneath their bodies and used to line their nests. They add a mixture of pollen and nectar before laying an egg in the hole. Finally the hole is plugged with more plant fur.

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Close-up of a Wool Carder Bee
UK Safari Creepy-crawlies Section

  2008 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved