[NAFEX] Carpenter bees as pollinators

rob hamilton lostman_amiga at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 25 14:11:39 EDT 2010

I have number Carpenter bees in the spring. I have noticed that they will cut small holes in the side of the blueberry flowers to harvest the nectar. I read that this bypasses pollination, but I dont seem to have problems with my blueberry harvest. 

I do see bumble bees and others on the same bushes, but they retrieve pollen and nectar the usual way.

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--- On Sun, 4/25/10, Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com>
Subject: [NAFEX] Carpenter bees as pollinators
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Sunday, April 25, 2010, 8:21 AM

Until someone straitened me out I had assumed that my vast carpenter bee population was actually bumblebees.  Now that I've been corrected I am very surprised about how active these bees are at working my fruit trees, the volume of buzzing around trees is almost scary.

When I tried searching for information on their usefulness as fruit tree pollinators I came up with no research on this subject and only anecdotal observations, except for passion fruit production in the tropics.

>From my observations this season, I would have to assume that they are perhaps the most affective pollinators on my property, although I have a wide range of smaller natives that probably could do the work all by themselves.

The thing is that the entire population seems to be derived from just about 20 feet of 8" by 1" boards that are cosmetic trim on the south side of my stucco cement block house.  

Other orchards I manage nearby don't have a single carpenter bee working their trees and I'm thinking I could encourage them by creating nesting sites.  


I have read that they can damage blueberry flowers but have not done so at all on my property, although they actively work the flowers themselves.  The University of Georgia recommends poisoning them on commercial blueberry production sites.  Glad I didn't read that before I'd already been growing blueberries here for 20 years without ever seeing a damaged flower and always getting heavy blueberry crops.

Anyone have any information on these insects as fruit tree pollinators?  I'm warn out from trying to find anything substantial through google.

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