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Aggressive bee

yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
I have a large patch of Teucrium germander which attracts a solitary Wool Carder Bee every year. The bee is extremely aggressive and attacks any bee which tries to feed on the plant. In some cases it just knocks them to the ground, but it really seems to hate honey bees and appears to try to smother them for quite a few seconds before releasing them.
I've watched the antics of the Carder bee with interest to see if there is a reason for it's behaviour. Today there were no other bees to attack on the Teucrium so it flew about 10 yards to a Stachys 'Hummelo' where it knocked a large bumble bee to the ground before going back to it's usual hunting ground.
Has anyone else witnessed such bullying by a bee?


Sorry the photo is a bit blurred.
A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)

Posts

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 7,862
    Male carder bees are known to be territorial , they like to keep their "patch" free for any female passing by. Bit more info here
    https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/woolcarderbee/
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160
    I'm still waiting to see this behaviour, I grew a big patch of Stachys lanata for them
  • ForTheBeesForTheBees Posts: 168
    I did too. Unfortunately I inadvertently brought the type that doesn't flower. ('Silver Carpet') so I think I'll replace it next year.  I did have a male making appearing in the the garden for a month or so but I never saw him near the Lamb's ear.
  • yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
    Thank you for your replies.
    I read the link passed by AnniD. It's very informative and explains the reason for their aggressive behaviour towards interlopers on the Teucrium, but I still cannot understand why the poor Bumble Bee was wrestled to the ground from a plant a way off.
    Nature is fascinating isn't it?
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160
    I did too. Unfortunately I inadvertently brought the type that doesn't flower. ('Silver Carpet') so I think I'll replace it next year.  I did have a male making appearing in the the garden for a month or so but I never saw him near the Lamb's ear.
    I don't think the lack of flowers matters as long as you have plenty of other flowers. They scrape the leaves to line the brood cells
    http://www.bwars.com/content/beginners-bees-and-wasps-anthidium-manicatum

  • yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
    Still watching the Carder bee, it's unbelievable how it attacks other bees. I managed to get a photograph of an attack today. It held it's victim for about 10 seconds.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
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