[NAFEX] Carpenter bees as pollinators

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Sun Apr 25 19:46:57 EDT 2010

On Apr 25, 2010, at 8:21 AM, Alan Haigh wrote:

> 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.  
> http://www.ehow.com/how_5099006_build-nest-carpenter-bees.html

I'd advise you against building nesting sites for them on your clients' property.  Aren't most of your clients basically homeowners who like having some fruit trees on the property?  Anyhow, carpenter bees might be fine for commercial orchards, but they have two real problems for home use:

1)  They are really big and scary looking.  They don't look soft and fluffy like a bumblebee.  A friend had carpenter bees, and his whole family was terrified of them and wouldn't go outside until they exterminator took care of the problem.

2)  They will dig holes in your house. You may not mind sacrificing one board of trim to the bees, but lots of people would, and if you have nests of them around, they might start a new nest and get into structural wood.  (And even if that's not very likely, homeowners will worry about it.)

Besides, commercial orchards and massive monoculture agriculture might need to specially raise or import pollinators, but I don't think pollination is generally a problem for the hobbyist or home orchardist unless he sprays to kill insects or something.  I know that I don't do anything special to encourage pollinators, but I seem to have 3-4 species of bumble bee, something that looks like a small black honey bee (with a slightly oddly shaped torso) various wasp-y things, and lots of little flies that seem to buzz around whatever's in bloom.  And all of my fruits seem to have pretty decent pollination, except possibly the cornus mas that flowers too early in the spring.
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