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Carpenter Bees

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  • Carpenter Bees

    So, I was sitting behind our garage apartment in one of my favorite shady spots, and I heard the faint sound of "munching" overhead. Having had this experience before, I looked down on the concrete around my feet, and saw sawdust.

    Yup - the carpenter bees were back. They're actually quite fascinating, as they "drill" a hole into (usually) unpainted wood, at a very consistent distance from the edge of the wood, and a very consistent diameter.

    They don't eat the wood, just chew it out and drop the sawdust below. While they're entertaining, they can be quite destructive, because, over time, they'll burrow into different directions inside the wood, somewhat similar to ants digging tunnels in the ground.

    Here's the sawdust:

    carpenter bee sawdust.jpg

    Here's the critter:

    carpenter bee at work.jpg

    Here's the hole:

    carpenter bee hole.jpgcarpenter bees measurement.jpg
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    What do they do with the holes? Is that where they lay eggs and stuff?


    Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mossrose View Post
      What do they do with the holes? Is that where they lay eggs and stuff?
      They bore nests in the wood. They resemble honey bees but are much larger, seem more curious and do not sting.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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      • #4
        Thanks. I don't know if we have them here. Will have to look it up.


        Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mossrose View Post
          What do they do with the holes? Is that where they lay eggs and stuff?
          Yup. Nests, so to speak.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mossrose View Post
            Thanks. I don't know if we have them here. Will have to look it up.
            The first time I encountered them, it was quite interesting. I had been remodeling a room in the house, and was using a circular saw in walkway between the house and garage. After I cleaned up, even using my electric leaf blower, I subsequently noticed more sawdust. I figured I must have missed it, so I cleaned up again. About an hour later, more sawdust. Like the twilight zone. As I was standing there trying to figure it out, I heard the crunching sound, then noticed the holes in the wood cover over the walkway. I looked up, and sawdust fell into my eyes.

            That was my indoctrination into the wonderful world of carpenter bees!
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
              The first time I encountered them, it was quite interesting. I had been remodeling a room in the house, and was using a circular saw in walkway between the house and garage. After I cleaned up, even using my electric leaf blower, I subsequently noticed more sawdust. I figured I must have missed it, so I cleaned up again. About an hour later, more sawdust. Like the twilight zone. As I was standing there trying to figure it out, I heard the crunching sound, then noticed the holes in the wood cover over the walkway. I looked up, and sawdust fell into my eyes.

              That was my indoctrination into the wonderful world of carpenter bees!
              Yikes.

              They are not listed under insects of Alberta. But we have 18 species of honeybees!


              Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                Yikes.

                They are not listed under insects of Alberta. But we have 18 species of honeybees!
                I don't know of any beneficial trait of the carpenter bees, other than being fascinating to watch. Honeybees, on the other hand...
                "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  I don't know of any beneficial trait of the carpenter bees, other than being fascinating to watch. Honeybees, on the other hand...

                  All bees must play a part in pollination?

                  You would think........


                  Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                    All bees must play a part in pollination?

                    You would think........
                    Hmmmm... you would think.... lemme check on that.
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                      All bees must play a part in pollination?

                      You would think........
                      And you would be right!

                      From our Master Gardener friends...
                      As pollinators, carpenter bees are generalists in our gardens and landscapes. They may be found foraging on a number of different species. Like their close cousins, the bumblebees, carpenter bees are early morning foragers. Carpenter bees are excellent pollinators of eggplant, tomato and other vegetables and many types of flowers.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                      • #12
                        They just need to find wood that isn't part of your buildings, right?


                        Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                        • #13
                          And we learn even more from the US Forest Service. They chew into dead, but non-decaying wood.

                          Here's an example of the tunnels they dig inside the wood. It fascinates me that they have to chew the wood, then push the sawdust all the way out the hole.

                          carpenterbee_gallery_lg.jpg
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                            They just need to find wood that isn't part of your buildings, right?
                            It's OK - we're probably moving in a couple months.
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                            • #15
                              Like most insects, they are pretty industrious, it seems.


                              Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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