Carder Bee, Potter Bee
Carder bees are named after the materials they use to build their nests. They'll use resin, plant fibres and earth to create the nest walls, or partitions, which separate each cell. Most bees belonging to the Anthidium genus are solitary; caring for broods alone. These are aerial nesting bees, so they tend to use hollow, elevated structures to rear their young. Within these structures, a female builds several chambers, or cells, in which she lays one egg and a sticky ball of pollen and nectar. The nest is sealed up until the following spring when the new bees emerge.
These bees will visit hundreds of flowers in one days work!
Adult: Anthidium is a diverse genus containing bees that range from brown and black, to iridescent green and blue. Some can resemble the colouration of a honeybee. They're also mistaken for wasps or hoverflies sometimes. They often have thick, broken yellow or brick red abdominal bands. Some possess additional markings on the face. The scopa (pollen-collecting apparatus) is located beneath the abdomen. The males are typically larger (roughly 2cm) than females (about 1.5cm). The males also have 3 small thorns or spikes at the tip of the abdomen, which they use to defend their territories. Larvae and Eggs: Seldom seen by the gardener. Larvae develop inside burrows until a fully mature bee.
Carder bees nest in the ground, walls, or in trees.
Native to Europe and present in North and South America.
These bees are effective pollinators, bringing benefits to gardens. Encourage these bees to your garden by planting bee-friendly flowers and fruits. These bees are solitary, so readily make use of insect and bee hotels. Different species can have different preferences in hotels, so be sure to do some research. Hotels sold commercially can sometimes be more harmful than good. The main reason being, hotel parts need to be removed and washed regularly. Hotels that aren't washable harbour parasites and these can impact bee health.
It's not advised to treat gardens with bees. Plants which are in flower should not be sprayed if possible. Bees can be affected even if they weren't intended.