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Thread: Hovering bees

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    Default Hovering bees

    My WFH home office is on the second floor outside the window is a cedar, hemlock and yew next to each other and intermingled. The window faces the south side of the trees. This time of year large bees, larger than honey bees but are svelte if they are bumblebees, hover a foot or two off the trees but zoom away only to return within a few seconds. They do this when the day is at its warmest. What's going on? They don't land and it seems like they're using energy for no obvious return.
    Tom Ambros

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    My WFH home office is on the second floor outside the window is a cedar, hemlock and yew next to each other and intermingled. The window faces the south side of the trees. This time of year large bees, larger than honey bees but are svelte if they are bumblebees, hover a foot or two off the trees but zoom away only to return within a few seconds. They do this when the day is at its warmest. What's going on? They don't land and it seems like they're using energy for no obvious return.
    It’s a mating ritual and not unique to bees. A lot of guys here on this forum also spend a lot of energy with no obvious return….
    "Humilis humilibus...Inflectans arroganibus....."

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    OK, if that's the case where are the romantic interests? I only see the bees in front of the trees unless the ones I can see are interested in the trees in which case that's just weird.
    Tom Ambros

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Those are most likely carpenter bees. Depending on how far they are from your house, they are more likely to be boring nest tunnels into your house than into living trees. They really like milled lumber because of the grain and relative softness. You can look at the eaves and see if there are nearly perfectly round bee-sized holes in the wood that look a bit like when the center of a knot in the wood falls out. The Wikipedia entry for these bees is actually pretty detailed on nesting behavior, mating and display. Basically the bees zooming around are the males and the bees making the tunnels are the females. They are pretty docile bees.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_carpenter_bee

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    What Jorn said. And due to the softness, they really love cedar.
    Years ago, I lived in a home with huge cedar columns. They flanked the front pouch and carport area. Every late spring and into summer the columns would buzz from the boring of their nests.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Those are most likely carpenter bees. Depending on how far they are from your house, they are more likely to be boring nest tunnels into your house than into living trees. They really like milled lumber because of the grain and relative softness. You can look at the eaves and see if there are nearly perfectly round bee-sized holes in the wood that look a bit like when the center of a knot in the wood falls out. The Wikipedia entry for these bees is actually pretty detailed on nesting behavior, mating and display. Basically the bees zooming around are the males and the bees making the tunnels are the females. They are pretty docile bees.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_carpenter_bee
    Very docile, the males are aggressive in flight but I don’t think they can even sting. They’ll knock one another to the ground and it’s funny to watch the dogs pick then up. The dogs can’t resist, and split them back out because they think they’ll get stung.

    They’re also not super destructive, making those perfectly round 5/16” diameter holes in the bottom edge of my trim. Super destructive are woodpeckers who open up their burrows once the larva start moving (and are audible). You can’t fight the latter so you have to fight the former.

    For me that meant filling the holes with foam, they will chew right through latex caulk. You can dust the holes with pyrethrin and then fill the holes. Trying to spray the holes with bee killer is fruitless and dangerous to all the bees. Once the holes are filled you can paint, I’ve heard Sikkens is best but my hardware store paint has kept them at bay. There is also an additive I have not tried.

    But man, the fascia board on my house looked like a kid with a pellet gun had gone hog wild after the woodpeckers lunched on all those bees.
    Last edited by thollandpe; 05-14-2022 at 09:50 AM.
    Treed Howling, Personal Etymologist

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    The current crop of adult bees start dying off in July. We'll see a bee flying around like it is drunk and "bumbling" into flowers and falling over onto the ground. Eventually they just crawl around and later we find them tucked into a corner somewhere dead. And like Todd says, when the grubs start moving in the wood, the woodpeckers go a little nuts. We have what's left of a big white pine that's riddled with carpenter bee holes, and every summer the pileated woodpeckers split big shards off the tree going after the larva. Must be high protein stuff, because the woodpeckers will work on it all day long.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    73AE9185-BE70-442A-9547-ABFA7DA4831D.jpg

    Small hole to the left is how it all starts. This is right outside main living are and we haven’t ever heard woodpeckers (not on the house anyway). It is a daily item on my to do list to check for new holes in the spring. It is amazing to sit on the deck and listen to the noise created by their buzzing.

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    What Jorn, Todd and Mike said...carpenter bees. They like to he on the bottom of horizontal surfaces, they can bore 4' long holes and they return to the same nest. They don't eat the wood, but use it for nests and in some cases they can be very destructive.
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    I have an old tennis racket on the porch that I use on them. The destruction they’ve wrought to my house, fencing and decking warrants action and I’m not going to spray chemicals that could harm other insects. Sorry not sorry.
    Solitudinally challenged

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Must be a “extra” year for carpenter bees. Friend has a welding shop off his garage with clapboard made of rough cut cedar. Most years, not too many bees. This year the bees are turning it into Swiss cheese.

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Must be a “extra” year for carpenter bees. Friend has a welding shop off his garage with clapboard made of rough cut cedar. Most years, not too many bees. This year the bees are turning it into Swiss cheese.
    Anecdotal, but this year while sitting out on the deck, the drone from the bees has reached new heights. The amount of holes is amazing. I might need a tennis racket.

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    I had to make pretty substantial repairs at my house. The holes were too deep and too numerous to caulk, so I filled them with single-component spray foam. While a live bee can and will climb out of latex caulk, the nasty urethane does them in.



    Step two was to cut the cured foam flush with a Japanese pull saw. I used that as a tennis racket to keep the aggro males at bay, what a satisfying sound when you send one!

    [img]https://i.imgur.com/IE7XLqu.jpeg[img]

    Then apply a schmear of latex caulk as a skin over the foam...




    Finally, oil-based primer and a couple coats of paint.




    Caulk and paint make pretty what aint!

    A warning to you who might be repairing. Carpenter bees almost certainly won't sting you, they also won't reuse their burrows after they've been opened up by woodpeckers. Other more aggressive insects, wasps and hornets, will use those burrows and won't be welcoming to the person applying foam and caulk and paint.
    Last edited by thollandpe; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:34 AM.
    Treed Howling, Personal Etymologist

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Need to update sig from "etymologist" to "entomologist".

    $0.02.

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Nice scissor lift. Can I borrow it when you’re done?

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Quote Originally Posted by mnoble485 View Post
    Nice scissor lift. Can I borrow it when you’re done?

    Mike
    I'll gladly loan you the staging that I purchased and lost the nerve to use. I'm not as fearless as I once was (that includes when I bought the staging a few weeks prior).
    Treed Howling, Personal Etymologist

    Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin

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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    Looks like things are slowing down (for now at least) already. Second lethargic bee on the porch today. Hard work being a carpenter bee.

    Last edited by j44ke; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:48 PM.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Hovering bees

    The Cuddly Fuzzy Moth caterpillars beat him up and took his lunch money.

    I read that robins, starlings and blue jays chow on those things. Considering the squads marching back and forth in my yard that might be right. Last night we were sitting under the yew and hemlock and were chased away by the damn worms rappelling down.

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