Bee Bombing – Happy Monday Funny

Anthidium manicatum European Wool Carder Bee

The two combatants take the stage. The little bee is by far the meanest and a formidable opponent. His aim, seek and destroy. Watch the drama unfold.

Our first combatant is a Anthidium manicatum, the European Wool Carder bee. I got my bee identified by standingoutinmyfield, a very helpful and knowledgeable entomologist. Standingoutinmyfield has posted information on the European Wool Carder Bee.

Our next player in the bee drama…

Xylocopa virginica Carpenter Bee

Our Carpenter Bee is just going about its business, never suspecting to be in a battle.

The aerial attack is on. We have liftoff for the aerial pursuit. Look at those furry landing legs on our European Wool Carder Bee! Need a bigger view, click any image.

The battle ground worth fighting over above is Caryopteris, Sweet Pea and Jasmine. You must think I have too much time on my hands to record this drama, but in reality, it took only about two minutes. Watch it unfold… we got some closeup action…

Our pursuer stalks the quarry from afar, but moves in closer, hovering and darting. The Carpenter Bee, nonchalantly gives him a dismissive wave, shrugging off the competition. I don’t make this stuff up. Check out the raised foreleg. Even the foot looks splayed. Can bees even do that? Bee humor. Maybe it is an obscene bee gesture? Maybe it is just me being silly, but the photo is real.

Circling, buzzing in close and intimidating, the Carpenter Bee is not taking the challenge seriously. After all, the enemy is much smaller, but little does the Carpenter Bee know, this bee is a terror of the sky. A mighty force in a small package not to be reckoned with.

But the little bee spots a weakness, sees an opportunity and takes aim. Is it getting interesting? Did you pick a favorite to win the battle?

The challenge is made and they face off, the little bee sporting a sneer.

The smaller, quicker bee carefully prepares the aerial attack, revving the propellers and picking up speed. Then the descent… the bombardier is in for the kill, kamikaze style, putting life and liberty in jeopardy. The aerial entry form is a thing of beauty. Well, maybe a little overly dramatic, but hey, the story is slowly unfolding.

We are losing altitude tower, the target is hit. I repeat, the target is hit.

Bee bombing the Carpenter Bee, the smaller bee takes the tactical advantage and goes right for the head shot.


Taking a defeat, the Carpenter Bee retreats to regroup. Showing the enemy weakness is not good battle strategy. Find cover and reinforcements is now mission imperative.

Hiding in deep cover will only be a temporary solution as the enemy will eventually flush out our Carpenter Bee. Need to get back to the troop and get reinforcement. The males are most useful for surveillance. Lacking a stinger, keeps them on lite flying duty.

Here comes a male now.

The Wool Carder is a relentless foe. Mmmm, is that a different foe? A little dark down here in the bunker to see clearly.

Constantly on the wing, the small bee secures the perimeter.

The strategically smart little bee is on the hunt to ascertain militarily advantageous features and locate the enemy bunkers. An offensive low-level reconnaissance move, the little bee has to watch for dangerous battle action coming from the trenches.

The dangerous jungle-like terrain, bee vs. nature, provides ideal concealment for both offensive operations and defensive positioning. Many foreign vegetative species in this jungle.

Surprise is an ally but also the fixing of enemy position is made more difficult in the dense vegetation.

The pursuit continues until the Carpenter Bee can be located and removed. The Wool Carder makes sure that the enemy remains separated from the troop.

The attacks resume with repeated assault.

The Carpenter Bee is downed and flattened. The little bee comes in to finish off the enemy.

The little bee rides the bigger bee (hi ho Silver, away style, no?) doing whatever is either annoying or painful. Hard to tell what is happening it happens so fast. The Carpenter Bee relents and makes another retreat.

The little bee quickly drives the bigger bee off the property after….

The bigger bee finally surrenders in defeat. I almost put a white flag in the foreleg, but wanted to keep the exchange real, so I refrained my little artistic addition. But, can’t you see this bee waving the flag? Oh heck… what’s a little fun.

Happy Monday!

If you did not see Happy Monday last week, we have a battle of the squirrels. Shock and Awe – Squirrel Style. And before that the birds are rough and tumble in Splish, Splash, I’m Taking A Bath. It is part of my garden critter series, the last one being Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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53 Responses to Bee Bombing – Happy Monday Funny

  1. Oh Donna what fantastic captures of these bees…I had never heard of the Carder Bee but it is indeed a formidable enemy….I love the white flag and the lifted leg…your humor is perfect…great Monday post.

  2. Once again, fantastic photos. It’s hard to imagine how you catch all these moments in what must have been action that lasted less than a minute.

    • It was about two minutes, only because the Carpenter bee would not leave at first. How the Carder Bee recognized this one bee out of many that looked just like it, I don’t know. It was strange to me.

  3. So much drama!! I think there are enough flowers to share. What furry little hogs!

  4. jakesprinter says:

    And you have a great stunning photograph again Donna , I love it πŸ™‚

  5. Indie says:

    Oh, what gorgeous photos of those bees! Fantastic capture of the battle. I love the bee’s posture in the end – it really does look like it’s raising it’s hands in surrender!

  6. Incredible, Donna, as always. How on earth did you capture the whole encounter, and in such incredible detail? I love your garden critter series!!

    • So much happens in the back yard. There is constant fighting over the food sources, so it is pretty easy to just pick one out. It is tricky getting the right angle to get the action though. Bees are pretty fast.

  7. shanegenziuk says:

    That is so cool – well done! To be able to capture bees in flight (or fight in this case), is one thing, and then translating their activities into a narrative was very enjoyable.

  8. Great story Donna! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Carder Bee. They are fascinating. If we observe nature closely enough there really is a lot of drama! Super captures of all the action!

    • I never saw one before either. Standingoutinmyfield said. “These are Anthidium manicatum, the European Wool Carder bee! They are gorgeous, but aggressive introduced bees. I have seen them headbutt other bees and knock them out of the air.” I asked to identify the top two images of the bee because I knew it looked different than the honeybees. The eyes were longer and the legs fuzzy. She also identified my Squash Bee. I had no idea squash had their own bees pollinating. It was more that I just never thought about it.

  9. Victor Ho says:

    The secret life… if only we could understand…Dr Doolittle please. Good shots.

  10. Emily Heath says:

    Extraordinary, I had no idea they were so territorial. Such battles going on in the undergrowth! I hope I never get in the way of a wool carder bee.

    • Emily, what was really strange about this encounter, was there were about 20 to 30 Carpenter Bees on this one plant of contention. The Wool Carder only went after one of them. It was hard following the action because it happened more times than I could show it. The attacks were relentless on this one bee. And, one thing I could not show, was the bee head butt ME! I am standing there and this little thing comes over and head butts my leg a couple of times. I had a telephoto lens on the camera, so I backed off about five feet.

  11. An amazing post. I really enjoyed the words and photos.

  12. Cute cute cute! The photos take my breath away to be able to look at bees in such detail!

  13. Some stunning shots with beautiful detail. Thanks for sharing them, and the narrative.

  14. Haha, fantastic! I love it. I’ve been wanting to capture the aggressiveness of the Anthidiums all summer and here you have done it for me!!!

    • Since you were so nice helping me with the ID, feel free to use any of the images if you write about this bee. I know I would be interested to learn much more. I found it really a little dynamo. It was so fast, I was happy I got any of the action.

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  16. greenshoots says:

    Great fun! Well done for holding your nerve and for total coolness whilst taking pics ‘under fire’!
    And thanks for making me chuckle!

  17. Kevin says:

    This is one of the most fascinating posts I have ever read in my life. The photos were amazing — and you must have some camera (and steady hand) to catch a bee’s sneer! Well done!! (I added lots of exclamation points because I couldn’t do that when I clicked “Like”.)

    • So kind. πŸ˜€ Sometimes you have to look at the faces. The insects, although not having our emotions, seem to have some crazily similar looks. I was out in the garden today and saw some unidentified bugs doing the nasty, and I swear, the one on the bottom, first was turning its head to look directly in the camera (true), and two, was smiling (probably not, but it looked that way). I will post them for Happy Monday next week. They are really small and VERY ugly, Ambush bug – Phymata fasciata.

  18. wifemothergardener says:

    Fun post Donna! I have photographed a few insect battles myself but never put them together this way. I am off to look up more on the Carder bee. Thanks!

  19. Alistair says:

    Well Donna, I think that was just the bees knees. Oh, and I am getting even more envious of your photography skills.

    • Nice of you to say, Alistair. You can do the same with the settings I post on many of my posts.The time of day matters as well as the light, but just up the ISO to have a faster shutter speed and you should be golden.

  20. Ida says:

    Oh my stars! This has to be the most amazing Bee photo shoot I’ve every seen. Your pictures are totally fabulous.

  21. Good grief, haven’t they heard of sharing?! Great post Donna.

  22. HolleyGarden says:

    Ow! I feel so sorry for the Carpenter Bee! I am amazed that you captured all this. And I, too, wonder why they can’t just share.

  23. What drama in the garden!!! whoa…. I was hoping for an attack by the Carpenter bees en mass. Nature is sure full of drama everywhere you look. I have been enjoying standingoutinmyfield, learning a little along the way.
    I am envious that your Caryopteris is blooming — mine is new, no blooms open yet.

    • Just joking on the bees forming troops, but you would think evolution would have stepped in over eons of Carpenter bee survival of the fittest to make them see the advantages of cooperation, you know like the yellow jackets and honeybees when confronted with a threat.

  24. Amazing pics! I never thought of bees having a lot of enemies, maybe just birds, but it makes sense that they can’t just go hopping happily from flower to flower like in the cartoons.

  25. Awesome post! Bee Wars! I’ve never seen bees fight like this – the honeybees seem to get on ok with the bumbles and solitaries in our parks and gardens, or maybe I am not looking close enough. Just amazing how you managed to capture every shot!

    • I have seen this many times on this one particular plant, but having the camera properly set when it occurs is kinda rare. Just happened, I was out shooting the Caryopteris for a post on late season plants for insects and the battle began. I knew it would not last long and the Carpenter bee would be outed. I just never knew what the bee causing the problem was called. European Wool Carder bee was new to me, and Laura was so nice to do a followup post noting some of its special and unique bee behaviors. Really, I am on the hunt now for those soft cocoons. I do know where the Carpenter bees raise young. Oh, thanks too Emma for tweeting my post, most appreciated. I rarely see Twitter, but so much thanks.

      • You are welcome, it is really interesting information that you and Laura have provided about bees that I am going to send links for both your posts to our association website for others to read. Fascinated by the behaviour of carpenter bees as had never realised they were so territorial!

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  27. nicole says:

    The fact that you can catch all of this amazes me!!! Great post!

  28. You are one amazing photographer thank you for sharing I enjoyed your post one more time.

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