Today begins the sixth National Pollinator Week when this blog looks beyond its favorite pollinator, the honeybee, to salute those others like butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, various other social and solitary bees…but not the damned carpenter bee!
We have seen a few of these occasionally buzzing around Beatrix. Are they drawn to some faint scent of cedar? We were smugly pleased to see the defending honeybees drive them away from the entrances. But then some days after our first such sighting we removed the shutter from the observation window and revealed a round hole entering the side of the hive. Probing with a plant stem indicated that the carpenter bee had not drilled through into the honeybee chamber but made a hard left to tunnel along the thick wall. Outraged we returned with a syringe of rubbing alcohol and squirted the contents into the hole. An equally outraged and very vocal carpenter bee emerged to be silenced by a fly swatter. We then stuffed some handy wooden twigs into the hole and so it has remained. A second hole in the bottom of the hive received similar treatment and we remain vigilant. Eventually we will do a better job of filling the holes but that will require shaping plugs since we do not wish whatever volatiles the wood putties may outgas to be near our hives.
Meanwhile, carpenter bees, no National Pollinator Week for you!