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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Busy Bees

Stepping out the front door this morning, I noticed that the front flower bed was buzzing with activity.  

At first, I thought they were bumble bees,  Bombus sp. But as I watched, I realized there was something different about them.  Instead of fuzzy, yellow and blacked striped bodies, these had black shiny bodies. After taking these photos, I looked them up and found out they are Carpenter bees, Xylocopa sp

 There were quite a few of them, and they were loving the tropical milkweed.

Unlike termites, Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but they do burrow through it when building their nests.  They may have been attracted to the vicinity by all the construction going on either side of us...

Look at all that wood!!  They must have felt like they won the lottery!

I'm not to worried about them.  Our house has no exposed wood and I think our neighbors won't either, once the houses are finished.

And in the meantime, the bees are pollinating our garden:-)

They were hard at work in the Vitex in the back garden too.

 In fact, the Vitex was teeming with life.  Bees were buzzing all around me.  

Or are they bees?  Sure, they have black and yellow stripes, but something doesn't look right to me.

I went online to try and ID them, and didn't find any bees that look like this. Wasn't sure what else to look under and searches for "yellow and black striped insect" brought up lists of beetles.

 Anyone have an idea what they are?

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Lancashire rose said...

Depends how big they are. If they are really big then they might be cicada killers. They make nests in the soil. Guess, what they feed to their young? They paralize them and drag them into the ground. If they are cicada killers then they don't sting- at least not usually.
That's rally great to have so many wood bees. I think they usually drill into soft woody plants, particularly those that have a pithy center. I had some vitex sticks and they seemed to really favor that. However, there may be all different kinds of wood bees. Nice that they are enjoying feeding in your garden.

Jayne said...

I'm still at a loss as to what they are, but they're still there and still pollinating, so they are welcome to stay :-)