Thursday, April 19, 2012

Carpenter Bees Do It

On Sunday morning I was out grousing about the trash and dumped potting soil. I realize now that picking up trash is gardener's work. No one else seems to mind, or maybe they see litter as humanity's flower and, as you know, one should never pick the flowers. But I digress back to grousing.

As I made my way down the sidewalk, there were many, many carpenter bees. They live in the apartment building's sill, and this spring there appears to be many more than usual. I am quite used to them and consider them my unarmed guards. The males do not sting, but their curiosity and male on male aggressivity make apiphobes wary. I really like these bees. They exhibit very interesting behavior and tend to live, generation after generation, in the same location. Maybe this is why I think they recognize me -he who brings nectar (primitive-type bee speak).

As I was saying, I was making my way down the sidewalk, picking trash, and two bees locked together and had landed inside my jacket. Not until they landed did I realize this was not the usual battling males, but a male and female in the middle of Carpenter bee coitus. I have not had much experience with the females, but I know they have a useful stinger, and I didn't want to be where I wasn't wanted. I managed to slip off my jacket and drape it on the rail, but then I wanted my camera which was buried in a zipped pocket underneath their business. If it weren't for their preoccupation, I may have suffered a sting. Instead, two photos before they flew off, separately.

You can see how to identify the males from the females. The yellow or white patch between the eyes give the male away. If they are mating, their respective positions could tell the same.

Click on this one for full size.


  1. can't a bee get any privacy?

  2. Bee porn. I'll stop at nothing.

  3. Wow! Kudos for getting that shot. Despite the fact that I know the males have no stingers, they freak me out. I see them all the time and they are SO territorial and aggressive. I flee when they dive bomb me.

    1. You still might see me do the dance if they catch me off guard, but they usually leave me be or stare me in the face!


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