European wool carder bee

European wool carder bee, Anthidium manicatum, is an exotic bee fairly recently detected in the western United States. Where it has established, it can often be found around lambs ear, Stachys byzantina, which has fine woolly hairs on the leaves which the female bees collect to line their nests. The male bees are very territorial and aggressively defend their favorite plants from other bees by bumping into the other bees. They have five spines on their top of their last abdomenal segment used in this battle with other bees (Gibbs and Sheffield, 2009). They do defend their territory from other males of the same species but are far more likely to defend against other insect species, as many as 70 times an hour (Wirtz et al. 1988). They can inflict sufficient injury to maim or kill honeybees. In addition to lambs ear, the bees may be found on catmint and Salvia sp.

The long-term impact of this introduced bee has yet to be determined. There is concern that introductions of exotic bees may increase the risk of new bee diseases to the US. They may also outcompete native bees or prefentially pollinate exotic flowers over native plants. The bees were first detected in New York in 1963 and were detected in California in 2007, and have since been found in Washington (2011) and Oregon (I have images of these bees from June 2009 in the Portland Metro area)


Kathy Keatly Garvey. European wool carder bee. The California Back Yard Orchard. University of California. Great information and beautiful images of these bees can be found at this website.

Gibbs, J. and C.S. Sheffield. 2009. Rapid Range Expansion of the Wool-Carder Bee, Anthidium manicatum (Linnaeus) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), in North America. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. 82(1), 2009, pp. 21–29. <21 June 2017)

Payne, A. 2011. Nest site selection in the European wool-carder bee, Anthidium manicatum, with methods for an emerging
model species
. Apidoligie (2011) 42:181-191.

Strange, J., Kock, J., Gonzalez, V., Nemelka, L., and T. Griswold. 2011. Global invasion by Anthidium manicatum (Linnaeus) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae): assessing potential distribution in North America and beyond. Biol Invasions (2011) 13: 2115. <26 August 2019>

Original publication: 8/17/2013
Last update: 8/26/2019

Author: R.L. Rosetta, Extension Nursery Integrated Pest Management, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University

European wool carder bee closeup

European wool carder bee closeup

European wool carder bee

European wool carder bee on lambs ear