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Wool Carder Bee - nest building - Anthidium manicatum - female

Wool Carder Bee - nest building - Anthidium manicatum - Female
Cross Plains, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
July 4, 2010
Ever since I first took photos of this species of bee which was my first contribution to BugGuide I have wondered what their nests look like. This afternoon I came across a nest just outside the house. One of the bees has built a nest behind a small unused metal mailbox attached to the side of the house which has spaces behind the box from the grooved siding. I noticed this white fluff sticking out from the space and soon saw the female bee come with more scrapings from the Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) which is growing in various parts of the yard. As you can see from the photo where the mailbox was temporarily moved, she has been very industrious. This is a well-protected spot and it will be interesting to watch as the bees develop.

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Wool Carder Bee - nest building - Anthidium manicatum - female Wool Carder Bee - nest building - Anthidium manicatum

Wool Carder Bee nest
Starting on August 8, I noticed that these Chalcid wasps were moving about the nest.

Parasites, parasitoids
It seems like every time that we raise some creatures, Leps, Hymenoptera, whatever, the parasitoids and parasites are not far behind. It is an insect eat insect world.
Nice observation. Keep us posted.

Great find!
And great shot! This is the first time that I see why they are called wool carder bees. I had no idea that they needed so much material. Did you get a chance to see her scraping wool from a plant? I will be in the look out for this kind of things.

Wool Carder bee
Yes, I've seen the females scraping wool from the undersides of the leaves a few times. Here's a photo I posted in 2007 -- . I had always wondered where they built their nests so you can imagine how happy I was to find a nest just outside our door. The bee seems to have put the finishing touches on the nest as I don't see her around the nest anymore. A few days before I found the nest I had noticed her flying around the area holding a big ball of "wool" but at that time I didn't see where she went with it.

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