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Re: [beemonitoring] Draft Everyman's Guide to Xylocopa

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  • Jack Neff
    Sam  Currently in Argentina so my database isn}t handy but I believe there are 5 species of carpenter bees in Texas, which is usually considered E of the
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 22, 2008
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      Sam  Currently in Argentina so my database isn}t handy but I believe there are 5 species of carpenter bees in Texas, which is usually considered E of the Rockies.

      John L. Neff
      Central Texas Melittological Institute
      7307 Running Rope
      Austin,TX 78731 USA

      --- On Fri, 11/21/08, Sam Droege <sdroege@...> wrote:
      From: Sam Droege <sdroege@...>
      Subject: [beemonitoring] Draft Everyman's Guide to Xylocopa
      To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, November 21, 2008, 5:41 AM


      Jim Cane and I have put together a draft Everyman Guide to Carpenter Bees in North America.  We had a few questions that some of you may be able to answer and would also tender any additions or changes.  Thanks.


      Sam Droege  sdroege@usgs. gov                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
      Http://www.pwrc. usgs.gov

      The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
      With loads of learned lumber in his head.
           -Alexander Pope

      Everyman’s Guide to The Common Groups of Bees

      Scientific Name:  Xylocopa (zile-low-COPE- uh)

      Common Name:  Carpenter Bee

      Approximate Number of Species in Canada:  1

      Approximate Number of Species East of the Rockies:  2

      Approximate Number of Species West of the Rockies:  7

      Approximate Number of Species in Mexico:  25

      General Abundance in Eastern Gardens:  Common north to??

      General Abundance in Western Gardens:  ?Common in warm deserts and???

      Time of Year:  All season but with peaks of activity in the late spring/early summer; in SE, peak began with redbud bloom.

      General Look and Feel:  Large, the size of bumblebees and some species as large as the largest bumblebee; most of the time the largest bee around; told from the similar looking bumblebees by the combination of all black abdomen (most bumblebees have some yellow or red hairs present) and that those hairs on the abdomen are sparse enough to clearly see the shining integument (skin) below; most males with a white spot on their face;  when resting, Xylocopa hold their wings splayed some to the sides (resembling swept-backjet fighter wings), not neatly overlapped down the back like bumblebees.

      Stinging:  (Anyone with direct experience of Xylocopa stings?)…low to no concern.  Note that males are territorial and will hover in front of you if you are near a nesting area, but they cannot sting (males of all bees have no stingers) and the females do not defend their nests and are not often seen unless they are nesting in your house!

      Nesting Site:  In nature, the female excavates nesting tunnels in the dead wood of standing trees or, in some western species, in yucca and agave flower stalks.  In the eastern and central regions the Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) nests commonly in exposed lumber of houses, decks, and outdoor wooden furniture.  

      Overwintering Site:  Groups of adult males and females overwinter in their nest sites.

      Favorite Flowers:  Will visit a wide variety of flowers; often slits the base of tubular or narrow flowers such as blueberry which are too small to fit into and too long for their short tongues; often conspicuous on leguminous flowers such as Lupines, Wisteria, and Locust in the spring.

      Interesting Xylocopa Factoids:  
      -        Most are largest of North American bees (other than some queen bumblebees)
      -        Males are territorial and defend their nests unlike most other groups of bees, have much larger eyes than females, and are one of the few bees that hover.
      -        Unlike most species of bees which live for less than a year, adults of some species live up to 3 years.
      -        Species that live in deserts will line their nest cavities with wax-like substances to retain moisture in their nests.
      -        Has the largest insect egg in the world (0.6 inches, 15mm).
      -        The tunnels of the Eastern Carpenter Bee are reused each year with new side chambers created each season; their tunnels, while at times extensive, never intersect nor accidentally run outside of the branch or board or even wooden tool handle they are nesting in.
      -        It takes many years for carpenter bees to cause significant structural damage; damage can be minimized by sealing nesting holes (1/2” lengths of wood dowel fit X. virginica tunnels tightly), using smooth painted wood, and providing alternative nesting sites in cedar (their preferred nesting materials in the East).

      Web Sites and Technical ID Guides:  
      http://www.discover life.org/ mp/20q?guide= Xylocopa
      http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Carpenter_ bee
      http://www.fs. fed.us/wildflowe rs/pollinators/ pollinator- of-the-month/ carpenter_ bees.shtml

      How to Attract:  Some species will nest in wooden timbers (softwoods such as cedar and pine often preferred) in which one half inch holes have been drilled.   A diverse and season long assemblage of blooming plants will attract Xylocopa.

      P Please don't print this e-mail unless really needed.

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