European Wool-Carder Bee
European Wool-Carder Bee, Wool-Carder Bee
European Wool-Carder Bee is the most widespread carder bee in Europe. Carder bees get their common names after the materials they use to build their nests. They will readily collect materials like resin, plant fibres and earth to build the walls of their nests. They'll carry pollen beneath the abdomen using long, comb-like hairs. Abdomens can be painted with blue, pink, purple or yellow depending on the flowers they've most recently visited. Carder bees are solitary; caring for broods alone. Unlike most bees, the European Wool-Carder male is larger than the female, which is quite unusual in insects. They're a fabulous insect to observe in the garden. Watch females fly from flower to flower and collect fibres from foliage. They roll the threads into a ball of 'wool', before flying back to the nesting site. The males, on the other hand, are highly aggressive. They patrol an area of flowers for prolonged periods, fighting off any other bee which enters their territory!
Excellent garden pollinators visiting hundreds of flowers each day.
Sometimes they might nest in human-made structures.
Adults: Wool carder bees are quite easy to identify because of the distinctive yellow spots that they display down the sides of the body; not many species show this. Males and females look alike, but males are much bigger with more hairs. Females are about 1-1.3cm whereas males are substantially bigger ranging between 1.5-2cm. Larvae and Eggs: Rarely seen by gardeners because they spend their development in nests constructed by the mother.
The females may create nests in human-structures, such as garden walls or houses.
These bees have been recorded in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America.
These bees are effective pollinators, bringing many benefits to gardens. Encourage these bees to your garden by planting bee-friendly flowers and fruits.
It's not advised to treat gardens with bees. Plants that are in flower should not be sprayed. Bees can be affected even if not intended.
You can attract Carder Bees to your garden by planting an array of pollinator-friendly, indigenous plants, including those whose foliage is 'furry'.