While carpenter bees may be considered a pest by many, we’ve still got to admit that they are an exciting and amazing creature to study and learn about.
Here are 10 of the most fun facts about carpenter bees.
10 Carpenter Bee Facts
Carpenter bee holes
The female carpenter bee is the one who does the work. Using her strong, powerful jaws she tunnels into soft woods like pine or cedar. This is amazing all on it’s own, but then consider the perfect 1/2 inch circles that are made… the symmetry is incredible.
Carpenter bee tunnels
After making the hole, she’ll turn 90° and tunnels into the wood to lay eggs. Once the tunnel is the desired length, she’ll lay an egg at the end, and build a wall to create a unique chamber. The wall is a mixture of pollen & wood which the hatched egg (larvae) will begin to eat. Each tunnel can have upwards of 9 chambers, each containing a single larvae.
Some of the worst damage as a result of carpenter bees are caused by woodpeckers. Once the eggs have hatched and the larvae start fattening up, they make delicious little morsels for woodpeckers. They will tap out the length of the tunnel, pulling the grubs from each chamber.
The male carpenter bee
The male carpenter bee is the one the will dive bomb those who get too close. The interesting thing is that he does not have a stinger. Only the female does. However, he can be very intimidating, but you need not worry. The male can be identified by a while spot on the head.
Carpenter bee theft
Because carpenter bees can be quite large (up to an inch long), they cannot always fit inside flowers to collect pollen and pollinate the flowers. Instead, they will make an incision at the bottom of the petal and drain the nectar from there, without even pollinating the flower!
Carpenter bee poo
Carpenter bee poo (and many other bee poo) can be an irritation and cause for concern. Because of the elements contained in the poo, it leaves stains, is hard to remove, and has even been known to left etchings in wood and glass! This will certainly make you want to get rid of carpenter bees.
During the winter months, carpenter bees go into hibernation. They will find an old tunnel to hole up in until the Spring. When warmer temperatures arrive, both male and female bees will exit their state of hibernation and go into mating.
Unfortunately for the males, not long after they find a female to breed with, the pass through the veil to the other side (ie. die). The female will go on to lay eggs in their own chambers in the tunnel.
Carpenter bees tend to have an even sex ratio, meaning that there is an almost equal amount of male and female offspring produced (quite different from the heavily skewed female sex ratio in bumblebees). However, in a laboratory setting, un-mated females will only produce male bees. The fertilized eggs produce females.
Carpenter bee color variations
Carpenter bees can be found around the world. In the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and elsewhere. The cool thing is that there are many different colored carpenter bees around the world as well. For example, in Asia, there is a beautiful blue carpenter bee.
What other cool things have you heard? Let us know all of your facts about carpenter bees in the comments below!