• What type of insect is this?
  • Is it dangerous to bees? I've seen them feeding on flowers, but I've also noticed that, on the same plant, when they're there the bees are not, and viceversa.

The photo is taken in southern Italy.

It looks a lot like wasp to me, and in any case the colouring seems very peculiar, so I guess someone will know the answer.

enter image description here

  • Looks like a big fat bumblebee relative to me. All those hairs for pollen gathering. But I’m not really familiar with European wasps/bees.
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 21, 2020 at 14:47
  • @JonCuster, this is not a bumblebee. If you search on google images, you'll see they are totally different animals. But yes, they feel on pollen too (I'm not sure they feed only on pollen though).
    – Enlico
    Jul 21, 2020 at 16:11
  • It looks like a wasp because their antennae tend to be curved, whereas those of a bee are angled (jointed). Jul 21, 2020 at 16:26
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    @ChrisH I was just looking at that aspect from your answer. The photo above has antennae that don't look the same as those in your Wikipedia link, although it might be the angle the photos were taken from. Jul 21, 2020 at 21:14
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    @WeatherVane and the antennae in the picture in my book are intermediate between the photo above and the one on Wikipedia. The angle in the book is a better match to the pic in the Q. Apparently the book is out of print and in demand, as sellers on Amazon want nearly 5x the cover price.
    – Chris H
    Jul 21, 2020 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


Anthidium florentinum is a solitary bee with the right markings on the abdomen. It seems to be holding the abdomen tucked under itself, but the shape of the first two yellow markings is distinctive among bees, wasps, and hoverflies in my book. The male has hairs on the abdomen.

A browse through the photos of this species on Wikimedia Commons shows some variability, and the difference between males and females.

It's certainly found in Italy as it's native to the Mediterranean basin. This link also has some features to look for so you can check, including distinguishing it from Anthidium manicatum

  • Large males exhibit aggressive territorial behavior. Males are known for attacking other bees that enter their territory; indeed I had the feeling that they usually shoo other bees (Apis mellifera) away, which is a pity because those smaller bees are so cute and calm that I can touch them while they feed, and they just don't care.
    – Enlico
    Jul 21, 2020 at 21:15
  • It looks good, but I could be proved wrong. I'm far from an expert on insects, but I do have a couple of books and an idea of where to start looking. I actually started with the hoverflies, many of which mimic bees and wasps.
    – Chris H
    Jul 21, 2020 at 21:19
  • Thanks @Enlico. I've updated the link to the distribution to the same site now it's restructured, but replaced the comparison link with one to Wikipedia, which should be more robust.
    – Chris H
    Jul 22, 2023 at 20:46

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