|Monarda and a gentle giant carpenter bee~|
I can hear you now! You're wondering if I am going to tell you let these creatures bee. Let them tunnel into your outdoor furniture, your decks or the eaves of your house!
|Proof is in the pollen covered bee on chive flowers!|
I will tell you that they are generalist foragers and are known to pollinate garden crops and garden plants. Carpenter bees are known to pollinate eggplant (Solanum melongena), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) and other species in that genus, cucurbits (Cucurbita spp.), cassias (Cassia spp.), Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), cigar orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum), bee balm (Monarda spp.), aromatic sumac (Rhus aromatica), and wild lupine (Lupinus perennis).
|Robbing the nectar on salvia|
I will tell you that they typically visit flowers that are large, open-faced with abundant nectar and pollen, day-bloomers, pale or saturated in color, and that have a fresh odor, anthers specialized for pollen collection by bees, and corollas with strong walls.
I will tell you that they cheat and break open the sides of flowers, like salvias to get at the nectar! So they do not pollinate salvia!
|Salvia azure is in this bee's sights|
I will tell you that I never, never, never use pesticide in my garden. Ever!
I will tell you that they have bored their way into my garden and my carport! Let me be perfectly honest~I would very much appreciate them not using their powerful mandibles to create nests in my carport timber! But, I am not going to use pesticides to kill them. Instead, I've located benches made in one of their favorite woods, thick pieces of pine, horizontally laid tree trunks and branches to encourage them to move to a new nesting area.
|Gathering strength for the coming winter|
They're in the garden today...It's near 80F (26C). That's the perfect warm weather to bring the males and females who over wintered in the nesting tunnels out. They are darting and buzzing madly around~ I can't tell if these are two males 'fighting' over territory or a male and female courting. Soon, the females will begin boring new tunnels or excavating the old tunnels. Inside their rounded branched galleries, they'll form pollen/nectar loaves upon which they lay their giant eggs (up to 15 mm long). The female forms partitions between each egg cell by mixing sawdust and her saliva together. (source) The female will seal the tunnels and soon die~In a few months the new generation of males and females will emerge, forage the rest of the growing season; then they'll hunker down in the old tunnels all winter long; and, wake up next year on a warm spring day and start it all over again.
I will tell you~ that I sure hope they like the redwood benches or the thick untreated pine board or the dead tree branches!
PS It bears repeating~ If you want to attract pollinators~Never, never, never, ever, use pesticides in your garden.
This post is part of a series on native pollinators in the garden~ Earlier posts and their links are listed below for your convenience.
Part I~Now Is The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees ( here)
This Is The Place To Bee ( here)
If You Could Plant Only One Plant In Your Garden~Don't (here)
Must Bee The Season of The Witch (here)
Go Bare In Your Garden (here)
We can't All be pretty Pollinators (here)
Eye, Eye Skipper, Big Eyed Pollinators (here)
What's In Your Garden (here)
Other bee posts you might want to read~
Count Yourself Lucky To Have Hoverflies (here)
Bumblebee Hotel (here)
Still Taking Care Of Bzzness (here)
My Sweet Embraceable You (here)
*Weathered woods are a common target of carpenter bees, to deter this behavior, keep exposed wood surfaces, including nail holes and saw cuts, coated with polyurethane or oil-base paint.
This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011.This work protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.