Wool Carder Bees (Anthidium manicatum) have been present in RBGE since 2011. This year the first bees of what will be their fifth season in the Botanics were seen in the fruit garden area of the Demonstration Garden on June 29th by Max Coleman and I saw them there the following day. As usual they were flying territorially round the edging of two ‘lamb’s lugs’ species, Stachys alpina and Stachys byzantina. One of the larger males was being particularly aggressive, chasing off both other bee species and a smaller male of his own kind.
This year, RBGE’s Wool Carder Bees have been seen visiting the flowers of two ‘new’ species – a yellow-flowered foxglove, Digitalis lutea, in the Upper Woodland Garden and a Penstemon species in the Rock Garden. The literature on the species mentions visits to these genera by Wool Carder Bees elsewhere but this is the first year I have noticed them on those genera at RBGE, where in the previous four seasons they have only been observed visiting houseleeks (Sempervivum) and various species of Stachys.