Friday, February 4, 2011

The "Bully Bee" Gets a Makeover

I like my Facebook friends. They share important bits of news with me, like a recent story about the European wool-carder bee, Anthidium manicatum. I saw this species for the first time last summer while I was in western Massachusetts. Males of this species, like the one pictured below, are indeed impressive creatures, but apparently now worthy of their killer reputation.

The complete story can be found here. Apparently the story was inspired by another story that went “viral” on the internet due to sensationalized and erroneous accounts of the wool-carder bee. My compliments go to the Reporter reporter for doing a most excellent job in researching the facts, interviewing the proper experts and communicating the right information in an understandable language. I was surprised myself to learn that the accidental introduction of A. manicatum dates back to 1963, in New York state.

We do have native species of Anthidium here in the North America, but they are not seen that often, especially in urban areas. The female A. manicatum shown below was, like the male, seen in a butterfly garden on the campus of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst last summer. She is scraping off the hairy fibers from this leaf to line one of the cells in her nest.

Please feel free to write me with links interesting news stories related to insects, spiders, and other arthropods. You can reach me at BugEric24ATyahooDOTcom. We need to reward good reporting and expose the kind of bad reporting that spreads misinformation. Thanks.


  1. Wow, he is a very beautiful bee. I will have to read the article. I'm guessing he may be aggressive ? On my way. Thanks!

  2. I'm pretty sure I've got one of these guarding my porch. I live in Southern Virginia. This bee seems to hover around the azaleas in front of my house, chasing off anything that comes within range, including my kids. :(

  3. Remember that male bees cannot sting (the stinger is a modified egg-laying organ that occurs only in the females). So, he is all bark and no bite!


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