Anthidium manicatum

Wool-carder Bee
Anthidium manicatum

Not native. European. Accidental introduction in 1963 to New York. In Connecticut and Ontario by 1991, California by 2007 and Newfoundland by 2011.
Although classed as leaf-cutters, females do not cut leaves, but strip fibers off leaves and stems of hairy plants.

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum female on Cup Plant Aug 20-08 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum female on Cup Plant Aug 20-08 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Upper face dark with short yellowish-brown hair. Yellow spot behind each eye. Lower face (clypeus) yellow. Mandibles yellow, toothed, tip dark.
Thorax: Black, with short yellowish-brown hair; sometimes bald. May have long, curved yellow stripe along side edges, above wing bases and 4 spots along lower edge of segment 2 (scutellum).
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) black. Wings slightly dusky.

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum female scraping fibers off Lamb's Ear to line nest June 24, 2005 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum female scraping fibers off Lamb’s Ear to line nest June 24, 2005 Wheatley, Ontario.

Legs: Thighs (femora) black or red. Shins (tibiae) squarish; top and underside yellow, sides of square brown. Males have long white fringe along underside of all legs. Feet (very long on male), yellow to light orangish. Toes brown.
Abdomen: Female – black with yellow stripes, interrupted at centre; the interrupts becoming progressively shorter to tip. Underside yellowish-white hairs (pollen basket).

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum male on Blanketflower October 07, 2004 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum male on Blanketflower October 07, 2004 Wheatley, Ontario.

Male – like female, or with series of 4 yellow spots on segments 1 to 4. Sometimes 5 and 6 stripes have a black dot, or are otherwise interrupted. Yellowish hair all along segment sides. Males have a spine each side of last segment and 2 more projections at abdomen tip.

Similar Species: Anthidium oblongatum are smaller (8 to 9 mm), have red-orange wing knobs (tegulae) not black, and obvious white hair on thorax. A. oblongatum male yellow stripes are not broken up like the male A. manicatum. Note: Leg colour is not a good ID mark.

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum male on Blanketflower Sep 01, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum male on Blanketflower Sep 01, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: Female 11 to 13 mm. Male 14 to 17 mm. Males are larger than females.

Habitat: Gardens and meadows.

Food: Pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Late May to early September.

Life Cycle: Nests usually formed above ground in pre-existing cavities, prefer mortar and stone. Females use their toothed mandibles to strip long, woolly hairs off the leaves and stems of plants such as Lamb’s Ear Stachys byzantina, Yarrow, Dusty Miller, Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus and Queen Anne’s Lace. The hairs are taken to the nest in a small ball and used to line the cavity by combing the hairs out again and tamping them down with her abdomen. Similar to ‘carding’ – a textile industry term describing the combing out of woolen fibers.  Large males can be very aggressive and have mating territories that include flowers visited by females.

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum mating on Anise Hyssop Aug 15, 2016 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium manicatum mating on Anise Hyssop Aug 15, 2016 Wheatley, Ontario.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairie. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Now widespread in Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

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