Can She Build Cabinets?

While taking care of some long-neglected chores on my back patio recently, I had the opportunity to watch a Horsefly-like Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa tabaniformis (parkinsoniae?), drill into the wood frame of the covered porch. Grateful that she distracted me from a responsibility I didn’t much want, I watched her zoom to, from, and around her target building site.

She examined other potential nesting spots along the woodwork, but returned again and again, …to the spot that she intended, for a particular moment in time, to become a nest for her youngins’.

I love these bees, but they are hard to photograph.  While solitary bees in their living habits,  I find them quite social and gregarious.   They buzz around me almost every time I enter my garden and I find them chasing each other around plants, in a comical Apidae version of hide-n-seek.  Obviously that is territorial protective behavior, but fun to watch. While not shy about buzzing me, they have never been, in the least, aggressive.

I certainly can’t say the same thing for my beloved honeybees–and I have the welts to show for it.

I was able to get good photos of Ms. Horsefly-like Carpenter Bee because she was intent upon her woodworking and not zooming hither and thither, as is typical of this bee

This Carpenter bee species is especially cute:  sporting pretty blue eyes and cool racing-strips along the sides of their abdomens, they’re common pollinators in my gardens.

Regardless, it took me a long time to correctly identify this particular species of bee.

I can easily get the racing-stripes in photo-form, …but have yet to successfully photograph a bee head-on, to profile those baby-blues.

Most photos are blurred visions of bee action.

I watched this bee in the morning, then had to leave for the day.  When I came home that evening,

…I saw two holes, the larger is the one she worked on while I watched and a smaller one, to its right.  It doesn’t look like she finished her carpentry with either.  Or perhaps, she decided that the neighbor with the camera is just too nosy.

Maybe she found a more suitable home and a quieter neighborhood in this old

I spied her, or another, buzzing around, clearly interested in this piece of real estate.  A nest hole made by native bees might look like this hole.

And this,

….is what I found in the back of that selected piece of wood. The wood shavings suggest that somebody is creating a nesting site. I carefully picked up the rotting log and looked at the back of it–there she is!  Mamma Carpenter Bee!

Racing stripes visible in the depth of the hole, is she crooning to her eggs, singing sweet  buzzy-bee lullabies ?  More than likely, she’s packing pollen in the hole for her larvae to snack on once hatched.   I’m leaving the nursery alone–Ms. Horsefly- like Carpenter Bee and her progeny don’t need me bugging them.

Maybe after she’s completed her motherhood responsibilities, I could hire her for some carpentry work?  There are a couple of holes in the frame of my back patio cover….