[NAFEX] Carpenter bees as pollinators

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Sun Apr 25 21:15:05 EDT 2010

In a message dated 4/25/2010 7:47:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
list at ginda.us writes:

>  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.)

I have an open wood structure shed. They don't build nests but rather bore 
holes in the wood, 1 female per hole drilled. They drill straight in for 
about 1/2 inch then make a 90 degree turn and continue drilling. They certainly 
could with enough years of hole drilling weaken the structure. 

There seems to be two kinds, those with a yellow dot on their head and the 
others with a totally black head. I have a tennis racket that I keep out 
there and periodically I will go out and kill a few.  It seems the males hang 
around and wait for the females. The males will fight each other and I have 
seen action that looks like they mate with the females in the air. Once I 
managed to get two with one swat. After swatting many of the ones with the 
yellow head and picking them up I have come to the conclusion and I'm quite 
certain they do not have a stinger. But watch out for the ones with the total 
black head they are capable of stinging and I have been stung with no serious 

This spring I decided to keep track of how many I kill and to date I have 
killed 38 with my tennis racket. I've been doing this now for about three 
years and this year I am not seeing nearly as many as in past years. More than 
once when I've swatted at one and missed they'll come back and dance around 
me, looked me over, but have never been attacked or stung. NEVER. Actually 
they seem quite docile. In past years I've killed, by swatting, as many as 20 
a day. 

But watch out for the little bumblebees that nest in hay and grass. Those 
are mean little SOBs and will sting if you just get close.
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