European Wool Carder Bees Aren't Slow Pokes

May 14, 2013

Don't ever call the European wool carder bee (Anthidium manicatum) a slow poke. It's not "as fast as a speeding bullet" (Superman), but close.

The males, quite territorial, chase away other pollinators, including honey bees, sweat bees and butterflies.

The European wool carder bee gets it name from the fact that females collect or "card"  leaf fuzz for their nests. Today we watched the bees sip nectar from our catmint blossoms and mate.  

If you've never seen them in California, that's because they haven't been here that long. Originating from Europe, these bees became established in New York in 1963, and began spreading west. Bee scientists first recorded them in California (Sunnyvale) in 2007.

Like to attract them to your yard? Plant lamb's ear (Stachys byzantia) and catmint (Nepeta).