Meter-box Carder Bee

Afranthidium repetitum

This is an introduced South African bee that was detected in Australia in 2000.

It was first found in south-east Queensland and is now know to occur as far north as Bundaberg. It is also known from northern NSW. It seems to prefer suburban gardens.

Its nests are unlike those of any native bees and are made in artificial recesses such as electricity meter boxes and sliding window tracks. This bee does not form hives, but many females may nest together in the same place. The nest cells resemble yellowish cotton wool and are made from plant hairs which the female scrapes from leaves with her jaws.

Identification

Length 5-8 mm. This is a black bee with thin pale bands across the abdomen. Females have white bands and males have fawn-coloured bands. The face, sides of the thorax and bottom half of legs are covered with whitish hairs. The distinctive nest is the easiest way to identify this bee.

A female Meter-box Carder Bee, Afranthidium repetitum. A female Meter-box Carder Bee, Afranthidium repetitum.

A nest of the introduced Meter-box Carder Bees within an electricity meter box. The cotton-wool consistency of the nest cells is unlike any native Australian bee. A nest of the introduced Meter-box Carder Bee within an electricity
meter box. The cotton-wool consistency of the nest cells is unlike
any native Australian bee.

Meter-box Carder Bees often nest in the recesses of sliding windows. Meter-box Carder Bees often nest in the recesses of sliding windows.

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