Beginners bees, wasps & ants: Anthidium manicatum - wool-carder bee

Anthidium manicatum - Wool-carder bee

wool carder bee identificationA large and robust summer flying bee that is highly territorial in behaviour. The aggressive males often patrol and defend favoured patches of flowers with considerable vigour. Widespread across England and Wales, and extending into south western Scotland. Common in town and city gardens. Its common name derives from its habit of collecting the hairs of the leaves of various downy plants to use in making brood cells. It flies in from late May to early August.


Key Features:

  • Large robust bee (males bigger than females)
  • Dark abdomen with a pattern of yellow spots
  • Pale haired thorax
  • Yellow markings on the face
  • Males are highly territorial and aggressive toward other insects
  • Favours plants such as Lamb's Ear Stachys byzantina (=S. lanata) and Flower of Jupiter Lychnis flos-jovis


Male has five spikes at the tip of the abdomen.



More information on Anthidium manicatum

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Photo : Anthidium manicatum female - Nigel Jones


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