The fascinating Wool Carder Bee
Now that the Lambs Ears plants are growing larger and full of leaves the Wool Carder Bees Anthidium manicatum are hard at work all day, gathering the soft fiber from the leaves for their nests.
A female wool carder bee, seen from above, is flying above Lambs Ears plants, carrying a ball of fiber between her legs. She scraped hairs off the underside of Lambs Ears to form this ball that she will carry to stuff into nesting cavities to create brood chambers for her eggs.
Look at the size of the ball of fiber, compared to the bee's body!
Here is a another female wool carder bee with a ball of Lambs Ears fiber that she collected.
And this is how they do it.
The bee scrapes fibers from the underside of the Lambs Ear leaf.
Here is the same bee at work from a different angle.
As it scrapes the fibers, it gathers them into a ball.
It takes several minutes for them to form a ball that they can manage to carry back to their nesting cavities.