Posts Tagged: carpenter bee
Carpenter bees pack pollen, too.
A carpenter bee (Xylocopa tabaniformis orpifex) visiting our gaura last weekend was packing bright yellow pollen, a sharp contrast against her black body.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, said that "the large triangular pollen grains of this and other Onagraceae are held together in strings by viscin threads. You can see this on the anther above the bee’s head. This makes it a challenge for some bees to neatly pack this pollen, but helps pollen to get draped on the plant stigma."
The UC Davis Department of Entomology website includes information on three species of carpenter bees commonly found in California.
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