Posts Tagged: carpenter bee
These bees are carpenters.
These bees are art.
Professor Jeffrey Granett, who retired from the UC Davis Department of Entomology in January 2007, now spends must of his time working on his art.
He created a hanging piece for "The Bees at The Bee" art show, to be held from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 8 at the Sacramento Bee's open courtyard, 2100 Q St. The art show, organized by Sacramento artist Laurelin Gilmore, is a benefit for the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
It's open to the public, it's free, and it's the place to "bee" on May 8.
Artists, invited from a 12-county area to participate in the show, will donate a portion of their sales to the Laidlaw facility for honey bee research.
And what did our retired entomologist submit for the show? Think carpenter bee. Think "tattooed" carpenter bee. His work is titled "Carpenter Bee With Tattoo."
Granett, who taught arthropod pest management at UC Davis and researched agricultural entomology, says he has no professional experiences with carpenter bees “but I enjoyed seeing them turning my backyard fence to sawdust.”
“The insect-art is a carpenter bee, probably male but I'm not sure,” Granett said. “It has tattoos on its femurs and tibias and should be hung as if it were hovering over a flower. It is cut from a linocut printed on Somerset paper with ink washes for the coloring. Although I tried to make the insect somewhat realistic morphologically, it clearly has some anthropomorphic characteristics for the viewer to figure out.”
Granett, who received his bachelor of science degree in agricultural research from Rutgers University and his master’s degree and doctorate in entomology from Michigan State University, remains an entomologist at heart, but his interests now include docenting at the Crocker Art Museum and "learning from my grandson."
And creating multi-media art, "Carpenter Bee with a Tattoo."
You've probably seen carpenter bees engage in the practice known as "nectar robbing."
Due to their large size, they cannot enter tubelike blossoms such as salvia (sage), so they slit the base of the corolla. They rob the nectar without pollinating the flower.
But have you ever seen a honey bee come along and enter the very spot of a corolla that a carpenter bee has pierced?
We saw a honey bee do just that at the UC Davis Arboretum last weekend.Maybe this UC Davis bee was "smarter" than the average bee?
Carpenter Bee Robbing Nectar
Honey Bee Robbing Nectar
Carpenter bees (Xylocopata tabaniformis orpifex) can't get enough of the day lilies in our yard.
In the early morning, they buzz into the patch of day lilies to forage for nectar and pollen. When they're finished, it's easy to tell where they've been: they're covered with telltale yellow pollen.
Blue sky, yellow lily, yellow pollen on a magnum-black carpenter bee.
What a contrast.
And definitely worthy of a photograph.
Thunder boomed across the garden.
The carpenter bee (Xylocopata tabaniformis orpifex) meant business.
She headed straight for the slowly opening rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora). Never mind that the petals hadn't quite unfolded.
Tackling the tiny pink blossom, she sipped her fill of nectar, and then, with another thunderous roar, vanished.
No wonder large, loud carpenter bees scare little children.
Pollen-Covered Carpenter Bee
Catching up with the carpenters is not always easy.
Not the construction workers--the carpenter bees.
They move fast as they buzz from flower to flower.
California is home to three carpenter bee species, says native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis.
You can find Xylocopa varipuncta in the Central Valley and southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and southward through Mexico. It is large (about the size of a queen bumble bee). The females are all black, while the miles are golden/buff-colored with green eyes. The males are commonly known as "teddy bears."
X. californica is right at home in the foothills surrounding the Central Valley, the Transverse Ranges (Los Angeles) of southern California, and areas of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. They are large, nearly the size of X. varipuncta, but with distinctive bluish metallic reflections on their body. Females have dark smokey brown wings.
X. tabaniformis orpifex resides in most of the same areas as X. californica, but extends more into the center of the Central Valley. It is the smallest of the three species--about half the size of the other two carpenter bees. Females are all black with light smokey-colored wings. The males have light yellow hair on their face and thorax.
Carpenter bees, so named for their ability to tunnel through wood to make their nests, carve with their mandibles (jaws) but do not ingest the wood.
Thorp says he tries to convince people to learn to live with these bees as “they are important pollinators in our environment and have potential as pollinators of some crops.”
“Carpenter bees are beneficial in that they pollinate flowers in native plant communities and gardens. That far outweighs any damage to wood structures.”
“These bees are not currently managed for crop pollination,” Thorp said, “but there have been some recent studies of their potential for pollination of greenhouse tomatoes. They are good at buzz pollination and can be managed by providing suitable nest materials.”
Due to their large size, carpenter bees cannot enter tubelike blossoms such as sage, so they slit the base of corolla, a practice known as “robbing the nectar” (without pollinating the flower).
We caught up with two carpenter bees (below) robbing nectar.
Male Carpenter Bee
Female Carpenter Bee