RE: [beemonitoring] Are these 'carpenter bees'? [3 Attachments]
The one on the left (elongated abdomen) looks like a giant Asian resin bee to me, and I have read that they take up residence in carpenter bee holes.
Barbara J Abraham, PhD
SEEDS Chapter Advisor
Department of Biological Sciences
Hampton, Va 23668
757-727-5283From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] on behalf of Charles Guevara [icecilliate123@...]
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 7:32 PM
Subject: [beemonitoring] Are these 'carpenter bees'? [3 Attachments]
[Attachment(s) from Charles Guevara included below]Hello all, despite my using: 'alkaline copper/quaternary type D 2008/ground contact/limited lifetime warranty wooden fence posts...in year four since my outdoors installation...I think I have a pesky bee which can cause me great difficulties.Before using woodputty to spackle the fence post holes...I spray 'spar varnish' into the holes I've found...on three different occasions...a large bee trudges about the wood post when I spray the holes with the aerosol spar varnish. The first time I directly ( it startled me in fact) observed this bee trudge out of the hole. As I stated it, over a course of weeks, upon spraying spar varnish into the holes..an oftly familiar looking bee trudges about...yes three times I 'washed that bee off' and left it in another garden. I guess on my next application of spar varnish (right at that time I will fill in all holes with wood-putty)...I guess I may have to 'put down' any large bee by the fence posts I now have to mend.After the crisis with my outdoor fence posts...I gave hard look at a huge bee hovering about the overhead rafters of my outbuilding open woodshed. Sure enough...a collection of holes in the rafters. I netted this bee...same head and antenae as the 'fence post large bee'...but an elongated abdomen on this 'bee'. After taking pictures of this bee, I released it. This woodshed was treated to two soakings with 'wasp and hornet insecticide'...a week latter I varnished and then wood puttied the holes. A week latter this sort of 'elongated bee' with a characteristic hovering search flight...well it was patroling back and forth along the rafter where I filled up the holes. I netted it, took some images of it and released it.Please offer comments: 1) are these the same species of bee? Is the one with the long abdomen a queen?2) could another insect have made the holes...and the 'large bee' opportunistically took up use of the holes ( I doubt this) ?3) Is it random that these large bees took to two different types of outdoor wood structures I depend upon ?4) Are these 'kill on sight bees'...do they represent a problem waiting to happen if left alone as my neighbors?The information contained in this message is intended only for the recipient, and may otherwise be privileged and confidential. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, please be aware that any dissemination or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify us by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. This footnote also confirms that this email has been scanned for all viruses by the Hampton University Center for Information Technology Enterprise Systems service.
- The bee in the photograph with the fence post is a female carpenter
bee. They chew. Most of the chewing is done in the spring.
I think Barbara is right, the other bee is a giant resin bee. I don't
know if they chew tunnels or just live in those made by other bees.
These are solitary bees, there is only a male and a female; no queen,
despite their enormous size.
I think it takes a long time before the tunnels made by the carpenter
bee weaken the wood they are in. I am biased, they are one of my
favorite animals, so I wouldn't kill them even if they were chewing.
I believe their nests can be destroyed by reaming the tunnel out with
a piece of wire, then plugging it up. However, another bee is likely
to start chewing a new hole nearby.
- That is Megachile sculpturalis (first two pictures are both females), which we informally named Giant Resin Bee. (Years ago, I was the first one to find them in North America after their importation from Asia by some unknown route.)
GRBs are quite gentle, nothing like their appearance suggests. The males do not sting, and they may hover near the nest, waiting to mate with female nesters. The females do sting, but I have never seen them defend a nest (against a person), rather if disturbed they fly off, usually to return later, a behavior typical of solitary bees. I have worked with GRBs quite a lot, and the only time I have been stung is when I pick up the females. (There are no queens.)
The other responder is correct about them using old carpenter bees holes, a common nest site, but they are versatile nesters and finding other small cavities, using resin as their main nesting material. GRBs do not drill holes in wood - so GRBs are not damaging the wood.
You might get various methods of killing them (I have heard too many of them), even though GRBs are not hurting anyone. Here is my advice. Try to consider them as very small nesting birds, being active for only part of the summer. After the mother bee puts pollen and eggs in the tube, she plugs the nest hole with mouthfuls of tiny bits of trash, like leaves and bark bits, sometimes strung together on spider webs. Watching a female return to her nest loaded with a mouthful a nest material - she even reminds me of a nesting bird. And like a nesting bird, I think it is best to just leave them alone, after all they need a place to live in a crowded world. Hope this helps.
BTW, what is the general location of the nest?
Wyatt A. Mangum, PhD