Fabre described the female carding behaviour in vivid detail:
"Faithful to the plant recognized as yielding good results, the Anthidium arrives and resumes her gleaning on the edges of the parts denuded by earlier harvests. Her mandibles scrape away and pass the tiny fluffs, one by one, to the hind-legs, which hold the pellet pressed against the chest, mix with it the rapidly-increasing store of down and make the whole into a little ball. When this is the size of a pea, it goes back into the mandibles; and the insect flies off, with its bale of cotton in its mouth."
But this striking behaviour had not escaped notice of one of the most observant and meticulous recorder British naturalists in the 18th century, Gilbert White, who wrote in 'The Natural History of Selborne'
Female wool-carder bee scraping the cotton away
She rolls the cotton into a ball
The ball of cotton is now finished
And the bee flies away with it to her nest
This is the Stachys byzantina, still intact today, waiting for the shaving of the bee.