Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bee Smart

Photo by Ned Harris 6/3/2015

This Carpenter Bee, though large, could probably fit into the very large Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) flower; but instead, s/he is using another strategy to get nectar, namely, crewing a hole at the base.

Bonus Notes from Ned on Carpenter Bees:

The only really large bees in the Southwest that are metallic blue-black to black. The most common ones are about an inch long and as wide as your thumb. They chew into different types of wood to create nest sites. Female carpenter bees have a stinger and can inflict a painful wound.
Male carpenter bees are similar in size to females, but are blond or tan-colored in some species. The local ones that nest in Yucca, Agave and Sotols are black (both males and females).
They excavate a tunnel about 10 inches long within wood. The female bee then visits local flowers to gather pollen and nectar. The female rolls the pollen into a ball, and pushes it to the back of the tunnel where she lays an egg. She loosely plugs the end with sawdust chips and other materials, forming a chamber roughly one inch long. She then goes to get more pollen and repeats the process until the tunnel is filled with chambers full of growing bees.

And a great bee post from Margarethe Brummermann that deserves another read!

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