[Homestead] Traps for Carpenter Bees?
bartermn at epix.net
Tue Apr 29 09:45:15 EDT 2008
Roy Morgan wrote:
> It appears that to get rid of carpenter bees, you need to buy (or
> maybe make) a trap chamber. It appears to be a board like hollow
> thing with holes attractive to the bees but inside is some sticky
> stuff, or poison, that does them in.
> Male carpenter bees have a big yellow spot on their fronts and do not
> sting. The females do not and DO sting.
This small discussion brought back a memory of a short story I wrote
about carpenter bees and it took awhile to find it but here it is:
The Bumbling Carpenter
Some kinds of bees are solitary. They live alone rather than in colonies
like honeybees. One such bee is the carpenter bee (Xylocopa Apidae
Apis.). These bees look like large bumblebees and for years I mistakenly
called them bumblers. Our cabin's pine soffit is pockmarked with their
The female carpenter bee nests in the early spring by drilling a small
hole with her strong mandibles. Although the hole appears to be only an
inch or two deep, it doesn't end there. Mrs. Carpenter will turn 90
degrees and bore a channel from 6 inches to as long as 4 feet. This
channel serves as a main corridor from which she will drill small
chambers a few inches deep. These chambers become egg holders. She will
deposit an egg, bring in a stock pile of honey and pollen, and then seal
it off to ensure the egg's development. The eggs won't hatch until early
the next spring. About 30 days are required for development from
emergence to adult when they chew their way to freedom.
The male spends most of his time flying around the nest playing guard.
This is ironic as nature has left him ill prepared; he has no stinger!
Only the female can sting.
Carpenter bees are valuable for catching the earliest blooms in our
gardens. The downside is that they aren't around all summer to continue
the task of pollinating. They are short-tongued bees with a strong
tendency to cut holes in the bases of deep flowers to get at the pollen.
My wife wants me to train them to do her deadheading.
In a wooden planter next to our deck, flowers are blooming. My wife is
at work and I am relaxing after a long day, alone but for the bees, a
solitary carpenter watching solitary carpenter bees. A big one buzzes
past my ear to land on a miniature rose. It parts the petals to taste
the pollen. "Hmmmmm, not bad." Xylocopa disappears beneath the yellow
folds. I watch as the bee's tail works around the center of the bud. It
looks like the flower is licking its lips after devouring its dinner.
The carpenter collects all the pollen the tiny rose has then hovers over
to a dianthus. "Wow!" The bee struck gold, er, purple. This time the
tail shoots straight up, the bee is standing on its head! I laugh
hysterically, glad there's no-one to hear.
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