Keith Kridler, Texas

Carpenter bees in Chicago Botanical Garden

May 15, 2009

Categories: General, Non-Daffodil

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Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas At the Botanical Gardens there was a really nice display telling about the various pollinating insects. They had placed a couple of European Honeybee hives in the orchard and there were pages of displays telling how good the Carpenter Bees are at pollinating the various crops and flowers. Bumble Bees on average will pollinate flowers at lower temperatures than Honey Bees will fly in. Their larger body masses and heavier fuzzy coverings allow them to work on colder and wetter days than European Honey Bees.
What I found interesting about the great information on the Carpenter Bees there at the Gardens is that they were being hypocritical:-)) If you walked around the gardens you saw all of these GREAT arbors and buildings and everything seemed to be made out of Western Cedar. A soft, rot resistant wood that Carpenter Bees just LOVE to bore into. IF you looked closely UNDER all these arbors and structures on the ground you would have seen that VERY recently they had used insecticides on all of the exposed wood and there were literally HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of these valuable pollinators that they had killed:-)) These “bumble bees” bodies were scattered all under the wood structures!
Seriously these large Carpenter Bees would terrify the thousands of folks walking through the gardens as they are noisy and the males will hover around wood structures, buzzing loudly, waiting on a female to pollinate:-))
Cool thing about this species is that they have learned to get nectar out of the jonquil and tazetta blooms that only moths and butterflies can reach with their long tongues. You can watch the Carpenter Bees chew through the tubes of the blooms, missing the pollen and stick their tongues down into the nectaries of the jonquil blooms. They will also do this with honey suckle blooms and other blooms with too small of a throat for them to crawl into.
Maybe George can contact the gardens and see what insecticide they used and why they used it. I stopped a grounds keeper there who was working in the “Edible Garden” area but he could not under stand the “Texas Language” or maybe he thought I was an idiot for asking about the dead bumble bees. I did not let on that I understand most of the derogatory words in Spanish:-))
Carpenter bees will re-work prior years tunnels that their grand parents bored into the wood. You can put up sections of 1/2″ diameter tubing or old water hoses, or drill 7/16″ holes into sections of bamboo or Paulownia limbs (these have hollow sections about the right size for these bees). Attach these fake carpenter bee tunnels up under the rafters or under decks or in old barns and the bees will use these to nest in.
There are lots and lots of species of solitary wasps and bees that use holes or tubes to nest in that are great pollinators. Might be better to attract Carpenter Bees with fake homes into metal buildings as you would be an “idiot” to increase the population of these if you lived in a cedar or redwood house! KK

One response to “Carpenter bees in Chicago Botanical Garden”

  1. Christine Durrill says:

    They also lie. Female carpenter bees have a yellow dot between their eyes – females are also a force to be reckoned with, aggressionwise. The males have been know to put a dab of pollen between their eyes in order to deter would be predators. I’ve stood within feet of either one while working in my daffs and now my irises. As long as you don’t make any sudden moves, most of them leave you alone. ON the other hand, my cat, Timothy, decided to try to box with one. He spent the rest of the day sleeping it off under the laundry table. Chris Durrill