Yesterday morning I saw a male Wool Carder Bee, Anthidium manicatum, defending the Stachys alpina edging around the Fruit Garden against bumblebees. I first recorded the Wool Carder Bee at the Edinburgh Garden in 2011 which was then the first record from eastern Scotland. Since then they have re-emerged every summer and last year were present at five sites around the Garden, usually where either Stachys or Sempervivum plants were present. This is the earliest they have been seen in the four years they have been present, no doubt due to the warm sunny weather. Indeed, the houseleeks (Sempervivum) in the Rock Garden have not even started flowering, so I don’t expect the bees to be seen in the Rock Garden for a couple of weeks yet.
Until Wool Carder Bees were spotted at the Edinburgh Garden, their only Scottish sites were in Dumfries and Galloway. It will therefore be interesting to find out during next weekend’s BioBlitz at Logan on 28 June whether any Wool Carder Bees are present there.