Woolcarder Bee (Anthidium sp.) – Possibly Florentine Woolcarder Bee (Anthidium floretinum)

14 July

Another European introduced species. Wool carder bees are very distinctive bees with yellow spots down the sides of their abdomens. They are one of the few bee species in which the male is larger than the female. Females comb wool fibres from plants to use as nesting material, while males fiercely guard areas of these plants for potential mates.

Commonly found in range of different habitats, especially gardens containing their favoured plants, also present in heathland, woodland rides and clearings, wetlands and river banks, soft cliff areas, chalk downland and brownfield sites. They nest in existing holes or cavities, including hollow stems, dead wood and human-made structures. They will feed on many flowers including labiates like Lamb’s-ear, Black horehound, and legumes like vetches and Bird’s foot trefoil. The females prefer to harvest fibres from hairy plants such as Lamb’s-ear, Great Mullein and Yarrow, which is where males are more likely to be encountered.