- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Birds do it...bees do it...
You've probably seen the territorial male European carder bees on patrol. They dart through the stems of a nectar treasure, such as bluebeard (Caryopteris 'Blue Mist'), knocking off all floral visitors. They're trying to save the nectar for their girls, perchance to mate.
These boy carder bees are often called the "bullies of the bee world," as they whack-smack, bodyslam and dive-bomb unsuspecting honey bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees and other insects that are just trying to get a share of the nectar. (Davis insect photographer Allan Jones calls them "bonker bees.")
Sometimes you'll see the female wool carder bees nectaring, or carding fuzz from the plants for their nest. Sometimes you'll see a male carder bee pause from patrolling to take a a nectar break. It's like filling up the tank.
And sometimes, if you get lucky, you'll see two bees becoming one.
Love out of the blue (beard)...