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Thread: Carpenter Bees?

  1. #1
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    Default Carpenter Bees?

    I know I have carpenter bees, as they are doing a number on my barn eaves.

    However, I have a large New England aster blooming now, which is covered with bees. A couple are the large bees that I am used to seeing as carpenter bees. Most others are small, maybe 1/2" long, but they look like miniature versions of the carpenter bee.

    Stupid question: Do carpenter bees come in different sizes? Or do they emerge full size? (Never heard of a bee moulting.) If these are carpenters, I would be wise to knock down the population now. But if they are bumble bees, I definitely do not want to do them any harm, but according to my insect ID book, bumbles have yellow on the abdomen. These are all black. Perhaps a Mining Bee?
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  2. #2
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    I've never heard of carpenter bees being different sizes. How about the possibility of one of the beefly species? Got a pic?
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  3. #3
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    Here's my attempt at a photo:
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  4. #4
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    Great photo
    It looks like a species of beefly to me. I'll see if I can find out specifically or not. If you want a good solid guestimate or maybe a real answer, go to gardenweb.com and post it on their bug ID forum. There's a couple of really good entomology types over there.

    Here's a link to a beefly page that has a few photos. There is a very wide variety of beeflies, so tracking down your particular one could be difficult. I have seen about 5 or 6 varieties here on this specific property.
    http://www.cirrusimage.com/flies_bee.htm
    Last edited by dragonfly; 10-14-2008 at 04:25 PM.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  5. #5
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    Fascinating web site! I looked around a bit more, and it might be a bumble bee. Looks quite a bit like the bumble on the aster about half way down this page http://www.cirrusimage.com/Bees_bumble.htm
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  6. #6
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    Looks like a bumble bee to me. I've got both Black and Gold Carpenter bees, and Bumble bees here. Of course, I've also got my honeybees too!
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  7. #7
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    Default that is a bumble bee

    "Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use."
    Herodotus (circa 485-425 BC), Greek Historian

  8. #8
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    If it's a bumbler, you guys have small bumblebees up there The bumblebees here are about the same size as the carpenter bees. Must be because it's Texas.

    This is a bumblebee on one of my Mexican sunflowers. The flower is about 2 1/2 or 3 inches in diameter.

    http://www.pbase.com/dragonfly/image/104576062
    Last edited by dragonfly; 10-14-2008 at 09:09 PM.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly View Post
    If it's a bumbler, you guys have small bumblebees up there The bumblebees here are about the same size as the carpenter bees. Must be because it's Texas.

    This is a bumblebee on one of my Mexican sunflowers. The flower is about 2 1/2 or 3 inches in diameter.

    http://www.pbase.com/dragonfly/image/104576062
    Everything is bigger in Texas.

    What is that waiting its turn. Bee? Wasp? That looks like a bugs David vs Goliath.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  10. #10
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    When I was growing up in the country family farm, yes, bumblers were large. This year I've seen bumblers that were surprisingly small, 1/2 the size of a carpenter or maybe even smaller.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly View Post
    What do you Texans fee your bees down there...

    http://www.pbase.com/dragonfly/image/68880367
    "Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use."
    Herodotus (circa 485-425 BC), Greek Historian

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    When I was growing up in the country family farm, yes, bumblers were large. This year I've seen bumblers that were surprisingly small, 1/2 the size of a carpenter or maybe even smaller.
    Both sizes have been around here as long as I can remember. I just don't see very many large ones anymore.
    "Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use."
    Herodotus (circa 485-425 BC), Greek Historian

  13. #13
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    Eaglerock, the carpenter bees I have here do not look at all like the pictures on the websites you referenced. They look like huge bumblebees, except the abdomen is shiny solid black. The thorax is fuzzy and yellowish. My barn eaves and numerous happy woodpeckers confirm that these are PA carpenter bees. What wonderful variety in the natural world, although it makes things tough for bug ID by beginners like me.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek View Post

    What is that waiting its turn. Bee? Wasp? That looks like a bugs David vs Goliath.
    I think it is a variety of wasp, but I'm not certain.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglerock View Post
    What do you Texans fee your bees down there...

    http://www.pbase.com/dragonfly/image/68880367
    We feed 'em beef. What did you expect?

    That one is a green sweat bee. Pretty, isn't he?
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  16. #16
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    Hobie, check out this page on hover flies. There's a group that looks like bumblebees. The main reason I didn't think your pic looked like a bumblebee was because the wings don't look right (to me).

    http://www.gardensafari.net/english/...ies.htm#hommel

    Look at this one:http://www.gardensafari.net/pics/vli...s_hs2_3316.jpg
    Last edited by dragonfly; 10-15-2008 at 09:54 AM.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  17. #17
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    Hobie, would you mind if I post a link to your photo at Gardenweb? I'd love to get the input of some of those folks.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  18. #18
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    Dragonfly, please, go right ahead! I would be very interested in their input. Would you please report back with any info? Or send me a link...

    They are similar to the hoverflies, except how the wings are held, but this could just be when the photos were taken. Also, the abdomen on "mine" is mostly black, but reveals thin stripes of yellow when it is flexed. For what it's worth, they fly like bees: that kind of slow-ish hovering flight, not fast like a housefly.
    Last edited by Hobie; 10-16-2008 at 05:31 AM. Reason: Adding info
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  19. #19
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    Hobie, I posted it a few minutes ago and will check later to see if there are any responses.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  20. #20
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    I have lots of both around me. The Carpenter Bees are always about the same size which is large. The bumbles start out very small in the spring, not much bigger than my honey bees. But their size increases as the year progresses to nearly the same size of the Carpenters. I understand that to be the normal course for them though. I guess the nest is started by a single queen alone in the spring and her resources are limited for rearing her young and tending to them as well. As her young get older and are able to help her collect food the new bees become bigger. Eventually the offspring take over all the work and food collection and the bees reach their full potential for size from the added and adequate food supply. Not to mention my syrup in the fall!
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

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