male and female eastern carpenter bees?
April 5, 2010
Wonderful site, I’ve been enjoying it for years now.
We have these bees every year in the spring, hovering mostly in one place near our shed and fence, but agressively chasing each other.
They seem to nest in the underside of the wooden rafters of the shed in little holes, new ones each year, with little piles of sawdust underneath.
My kids are terrified of them (and insist that they are bumblebees), but really they don’t seem agressive and let me walk right up to them.
This year, however, we found two dead ones. That’s never happened before. When I realized one was male and one female I rearranged them, so you could see the faces side by side. Do they kill one another? or do you think something else did them in?
Central New Jersey
You are absolutely correct. These are Eastern Carpenter Bees, and we are happy that you are showing the black faced female next to the white or yellow faced male. We suspect some blood sucking predator may have preyed upon your bees, and we are certain they were not killed by one another. It is kind of early in the year for a predator like the Bee Killer Robber Fly, so we really don’t have a theory on what the assassin may have been.
Update: July 25, 2015
If the adult parasitoid Tiger Bee Fly completes metamorphosis after the adult Carpenter Bee emerges, that might explain the Eastern Carpenter Bees dead from unknown causes.