Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Favorite Pollinator!

To be honest it's my favorite right this minute. But, it's definitely in my favorite pollinator family~Bees!

Some homeowners think this big beautiful bee is a pain in their siding! I truly can't blame them. Carpenter bees love wood and any unpainted wood is very attractive to them! Including the stained posts on my carport!

There's so much I can tell you all about them. Instead, I'll tell you three things that you might not know and suggest you take a look at a post I wrote last year for more information.  Just click on this Carpenter Bees.

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.
Not a pollinator of salvias this Carpenter bee is covered with garlic pollen
They are cheaters in the pollination game when it comes to some flowers. They cannot climb into the flowers of salvias and instead break open the sides to get at the nectar and consequently are not salvia pollinators.
and the final thing, I will share with you is this~

My Carpenter Bees have never, ever, ever had to deal with pesticides. I hung a pottery Red-bellied woodpecker on their favorite of my carport stained pillars and they have moved on! Just like magic!


xoxogail

Flowers from top down!
Lobelia siphilitica 
Pentas lanceolata 
Caryopteris × clandonensis 'First Choice'
Phlox glaberrima (blooming almost non-stop)
Salvia azurea
Coreopsis cultivar

The ceramic bird is by artist Steve Thorstenson.   You can find his work at Montana Birdworks


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

29 comments:

  1. Thanks for that non-spraying fix, Gail! We have holes all over our stained wood deck and some are worrisome. We do love the large bees, too. Beautiful captures!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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  2. Your woodpecker is much more attractive than the coffee can lids I've seen some people use ;) I actually love carpenter bees, and at the moment they seem to be relishing our native sage flowers. Love those green eyes in your third photo!

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  3. Ah! We have tons of them here. They love the celosias. I'm not sure how I feel about discouraging them. I have a pretty hands-off policy where critters are concerned.

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  4. They are eating my swing area up. Table that the electric grill sits on is about eaten up. Saw dust all over the whole swing area.

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  6. I just realized the woodpecker was a pottery one--tee hee. So I had to change my comment. We don't have carpenter bees here--wow, they're big! I love your photos of the bees pollinating the flowers.

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  7. I like your pottery woodpecker-- where'd you get it?

    Lots of carpenter bees around here too, and lots of holes in wood too although I don't really worry about it. I'm more worried about hurricanes.

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  8. I've noticed more carpenter bees in the garden this year; fortunately, they seem to be enjoying the flowers so much I haven't seen them gnawing on any wood. Love your woodpecker! And the photo of the bee on the coreopsis--stunning!

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  9. Are you allowed to pick a favorite pollinator? Don't tell the others! ;)

    I like how carpenter bees are one of the earliest bees. Announcers of spring! Great idea about the woodpecker - I'll have to pass that one on to my parents, who have had to replace many a siding board!

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  10. What a clever idea to put a dummy red-bellied woodpecker out to fool the bees. The Carpenter bees are fun to watch. They drill into the big white blooms of the hostas now blooming in my garden. All of the smaller bees and event he hummingbirds use their entry holes to get at the nectar. They must be good nectar miners. Have a great weekend.

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  11. Great solution! And a stunning post.

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  12. If they never transfer pollen, how are they one of your favorite pollinators?

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    1. They 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)....just not salvia.

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  13. What a great idea to deter the carpenter bees! I, too, love them but had to move them out of the siding along our front door. It was rough, unstained/unpainted cedar when we moved in. We painted it, but that didn't deter the already established carpenter bees. So I waited until I thought the new year's crop of bees had all hatched, but the females hadn't started laying eggs and starting building their cells, and then filled the holes and painted over them. It worked like a charm. I feel a bit of guilt, hoping that I didn't seal any into the tunnels, but felt it was a better solution than spraying.

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    Replies
    1. I brought tree stumps into the garden just for them! They love them, too.

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    2. We have all sorts of dead snags in the dry creek bed near our house, so luckily I'm not worried about carpenter bees having plenty of places to nest. Stumps are an excellent idea for an alternative, though!

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  14. By the way, I would love to add your faux woodpecker photo to my Pinterest board, as I keep ideas stored there that I've encountered and would love to utilize (i.e. copy, in this case) some day. Would you mind?

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    1. That's great and please link back to clay and limestone:)

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  15. Carpenter bees are my favorites, too, Gail! Thanks for all you do to educate folks about our buzzing buddies.

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  16. I love them all. You have such wonderful closeups here. They are so important to have around and I hope more and more people realize what they do for our environment besides sting people:) Or get honey stuck in between the drywall:)

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    1. Honey between the drywall sounds like an interesting story!...

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  17. Gail, I read a lot of blogs, [ahem] and no one take photos of insects like you do, no one!

    You are the queen bee of insect photographers.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    Replies
    1. Jen, That means a lot coming from you. Thank you, xo

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  18. Hi, Gail, I love carpenter bees, too. I regard them as the teddy bears of the bee world. :)

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  19. Gail I love the bees in my garden too...I love the idea of the woodpecker as we have had an issue from time to time and with certain wasps as well drilling into wood.

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  20. Fantastic idea, Gail, and amazing photos. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

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  21. Great idea. That woodpecker looked really real. I don't think we have Carpenter Bees here. Bumblebees look so similar though. Maybe I can't tell them apart. I'll have to look more carefully.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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