Do bees have different characters?

On July 10, Sue posted Bird Brains maintaining that birds do have different characters – which I definitely agree with.

Taking things a step further I now wonder if bees have different characters too.  I have just met a bee with attitude.

Anthidium on camera

I must admit that it is really “bee time” over here and I am having plenty of models to take photographs and identify (hopefully).

Anthidium bee on camera lens

Usually they pay little attention to me and I have to follow their movements as they visit the flowers but this one seemed curious of the camera.

Anthidium bee and camera lens

Luckily I had my trusty assistant on hand to photograph my friendly bee.

Anthidium on camera lens

She was certainly not camera shy but had not quite got the idea of posing in an alluring position on a colourful flower.

Anthidium on back of neck

Tired of posing she seemed up for a game of hide-and-seek.  I think she has the advantage over me for this game.


I thought it was time for my trusty assistant to borrow my camera which was equipped with my Macro lens to see if we could get a close up.

Bee kissIsn’t she sweet!  I would call that a bee kiss and we haven’t even exchanged names.

I think she is Anthidium manicatum but I am not too sure about her species name.

44 thoughts on “Do bees have different characters?

    1. I must admit this has never happened to me before. These bees like my lavender and nepeta. They are also called carder bees as they collect the hairs from leaves to make fluff like cotton wool to use in their nests. I have lots of fluffy plants like Lychnis coronaria and Stachys but I’ve yet to see the females making up their bundles of fluff.


  1. She must be called Anthia!

    Great set of shots…
    and most certainly was after your body salts…
    or even just moisture…
    we got up to a dry 35 Centipedes at 27% Humility yesterday.

    Saw first glowing wurrums Tuesday…
    one in a new spot…
    very near where I’d seen a larva at the w/e…
    so looks like we have a new grouping in the potager…
    the other was by the strawberry “troughs”… a regular spot.
    If only the “krill” would depart/vanish/get eaten, I’d go out on another hunt.


  2. That is amazing! In the last shot, it definitely looks like the bee is lapping up something (sweat?) with its long proboscis. I assume that is your neck getting “kissed”? You are brave!


    1. I’ve never been stung by a bee despite always getting in their way with a camera. I think it’s mainly the honey bees that can turn nasty if you annoy them. Some of the other bees can sting but seemingly it is a very mild sensation, a bit like being touched by one nettle sting.


  3. what incredible shots you got! I am yet to get a decent bee shot with my bridge camera. I’m looking to get a canon 100mm macro lens for canon EOS. I see you have one, how would you rate it?


    1. I thought long and hard about it as I think it is a lot of money for a hobby. I asked a couple of the photographers I follow on WordPress and I found their comments very helpful. I have been very pleased with it. It is the cheaper version without the image stabilisation. It has enabled me to take pictures of bees so that I can see their mandibles and other bits to help with identification. You have to realise if you go that close up you don’t have much depth of field so it may not be the best if you wanted a picture of a bee on a lovely flower but I suppose you realise that yourself. It was only the last photograph that my husband took with the 100mm. The others he took with my kit lens 18-135 mm (Image stabiliser) on his Canon EOS 1100D.

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    1. I’m glad you like her, there are a lot of them around here at the moment. I had never seen them until this year. Taking photographs has made me a lot more observant than I used to be.


  4. Anthidium are certainly feisty little things. I watched one the other day guarding a patch of stachys (lamb’s ears), see off all comers including the violet carpenter bees. Later I got photos of one gathering the fluff from the lamb’s ears. A couple of years ago I got photos of one gathering fluff off the underneath of our chasselas grape leaves. It was so quiet in the orchard I could hear the scraping noise, which was what alerted me to the bee’s presence.


    1. Thank you Laura, everybody else has been discussing the heat and talking about sweat. There was an alternative that I was wearing an extremely expensive and alluring French perfume and the bee was completely overcome with it and mistook me for an exotic flower. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wearing any perfume.:)


    1. Go on…say it SWEAT. I really don’t know, I haven’t read anywhere that bees collect anything else but pollen, nectar and tree resin (propolis – well the honey bees do). She was certainly one confused bee.


      1. Sweat? Maybe! But I was wondering more if it was something about the sheen on your clothes or your hair indicating a potential source of fluff for the carder bee. Wrong time of year to be fluff sourcing?


      2. I don’t know about carders but it’s well documented that honey bees also collect water. In the summer honey bees use it to keep the colony cool, by hanging it in the cells and fanning. They prefer ‘dirty’ water from sources like bird baths or ponds to fresh new water from a tap, possibly because they can locate it through smell more easily. Not that your neck is dirty! But possibly sweat might smell nice to a bee and contain salts and other minerals they can benefit from.


    1. The male Anthidium is very aggressive towards other males in “his” territory and none to gentle with the females either! But that is just the basic instinct, I expect their are shifts away from normal.


  5. Good to see that 100mm at work in the last picture. I don’t know if I’d have been as sanguine as you at having a bee on my neck. Yesterday I was taking closeups of some paper wasps and after a while one of them flew at me. I didn’t stay around long enough to find out if it felt threatened or was just curious.


    1. I’m very pleased with my lens – it is great for me quality/price – and your advice was a great help to me.
      I think honey bees and wasps give the solitary bees a very bad image – they are not aggressive towards humans.:)


    1. Thanks for the confirmation. I have seen the male grab the female and he just pounces on her. She tries to keep a low profile but doesn’t have a chance when he spots her and he is larger than her too.


  6. Pingback: Living in France | a french garden

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