|Carpenter Bee nectaring on Goldenrod|
|Bumble Bee (left) and male Carpenter Bee (right) on Goldenrod|
|Inside look at a Carpenter Bee hole|
|Post showing both Carpenter Bee hole and and damage by woodpeckers drilling out bee larvae.|
|Carpenter Bee cheating by robbing nectar from base of hole chewed at base of flower.|
Carpenter bees are actually beneficial insects and act, for the most part, as pollinators for many flowers. Their tongues however are not as long as some bumble bees and so sometimes cannot reach into deep flowers. That means that they sometimes "cheat" and chew a hole into the base of the flowers to steal nectar without providing pollination services, something that some other bees like honeybees also can do.
|Carpenter Bee sleeping under the cover of a leaf and flowers.|
Though over the summer many carpenter bees, especially males, just hid under flowers and leaves to spend the night, many are now heading back to the holes to overwinter. They will remain dormant in these holes until spring arrives and they start the cycle all over again.
There are many dangers to carpenter bees besides angry homeowners. One such danger is a creature who's whole existence depends on its carpenter bee hosts. A large fly called the Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus) is often noticed hovering near carpenter bee tunnels. It is a parasatoid, laying its egg in the opening and then having its own larvae kill and eat the carpenter bee larva when it is pupating. Without carpenter bees there would be no Tiger Bee Flies, so they do not end up killing them all and are not a threat to people or the bee population as a whole.
|Tiger Bee Fly|
Carpenter bees are not liked very much or are not well appreciated, but are fascinating and important parts of the natural world. They are intricately tied into the lives of flowers and of course the Tiger Bee Fly. Just something to think about the next time an inquisitive male buzzes you or you see one near the eaves of your porch.