Not Carpenter Bees?
Location: Northeast Georgia mountains
July 1, 2011 2:29 pm
A group of 10 or 11 of these burrowing bees-wasps-hornets-flies hangs around a wooden bench made from a cayuco, which, in the Republic of Panama, is made from a hollowed-out tree. I brought this bench with me when I moved from Panama to the mountains of northeast Georgia. I even captured 3 groups of 3 of these guys and released them at different locations between 1 and a half and 2 miles from my porch where this bench sits. That left 2 that I know of. Within 3 hours, 10 or 11 of them were buzzing around again. I believe the captives had found their way back and rejoined the group. Huh? Although they’ve made holes similar to those of the female carpenter bees, from my research I don’t believe they are–these are too social and carpenter bees don’t have the ”smiley face” characteristic that you can see in one of the images. Besides, I have carpenter bees on my property and they don’t look like them. They’re not aggressive, as I& #8217;ve sat among them–even bumping them–without getting stung; assuming they have stingers. I could easily kill them, but I don’t do that. I was tempted to sacrifice just one to determine if it had a stinger, but I couldn’t even bring myself to do that. (No, I’m not going to capture one and hold it in my closed fist just to see if it’ll sting me.) I’m really baffled; haven’t found an image that even closely resembles them. Obviously, I’m missing something. I know someone’s thinking that I unknowingly ”smuggled” them as larva inside the bench when I left Panama. I left there 12 years ago, and these showed up only 3 years ago. Please help. Thank you.
Signature: Rob Lane
The first thing we have to say is that your action photos are spectacular. Though the Giant Resin Bee, Megachile sculpturalis, is an introduced exotic species, you had nothing to do with its importation. The Giant Resin Bees were introduced from Asia and they are now very well established in North America. BugGuide indicates: “They are opportunistic and nest in existing wooden cavities, rather than excavating their own. Effectively pollinate kudzu, another invasive species.”
Thank you, Daniel, for that rapid response. Had I seen any image like the ones in BugGuide (the link you provided) I’d’ve instantly recognized it. Although I said it, I didn’t mean that they actually “made” the holes like the carpenter bees do. This piece of cayuco was riddled with holes, and I did observe the “plugs” in their entrances near the end of their season. Do you think that those nine I captured and released actually found their way back?
Oh, and thank you for the comment on the action photos. I credit them to my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 set at 1/160 shutter speed with flash.
Although I said that a cayuco is made from a hollowed-out tree, I failed to mention that it’s a boat (like a dugout canoe).
For your interest I’ve included a few more images focusing on the wood of the cayuco:
This is stem of the boat; the flat part on the very bow. That hole at the upper right is cut completely through and is where the boatman would tie his anchor line. You can see traces of the resin, mud, or clay at the center of the stem.
Hi Again Rob,
We believe the Giant Resin Bees may have found their way back, but we cannot be certain.