Wool carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

A female Wool carder bee - it has a bold black diamond pattern down its abdomen and is drinking from a pink flower

Wool carder bees are very distinctive because of the bright yellow spots down the sides of their abdomens. Females collect wool fibres from plants (earning them their name) and you might see them transporting these fibres in small, silvery clumps back to their nests. Male wool carder bees are known for their territorial behaviour, as they will attack any insect that tries to enter their patch of flowers, which they keep for their potential mates. Wool carder bees can be found from May to August in areas that contain plants for the female bees to harvest, but prefer hairy plants such as Lamb’s-ear, Great Mullein, and Yarrow.