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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

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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; 1 Day Ago at 09:50 AM.
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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.
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