Internal Strategies paper for the University of Phoneix
Internal Strategies paper for the University of Phoneix
Internal Strategies paper for the University of Phoneix
Blue Carpenter Bees
Scientifically known as the Xylocopa Caerulea, the blue carpenter bees are part of the “genus Xylocopa of the subfamily Xylocopinae” (Chamberlain). The genus-group itself consists of over 500 types of bees which includes a variety of colored bees such as yellow, blue, green, and black. The blue carpenter bee in particular, can be found in places such as Southeast Asia, China, India, and Indonesia.The common name of this very bee, the blue carpenter bee, comes from a combination of their morphology and behavior. Carpenter bees are so-called due to their habit of drilling round galleries in wood to raise their young. Through the use of mandibles (pairs of oral appendages with a variety of functions), the bees are able to develop an entrance and tunnels within the wood. They are capable of creating such holes by using their mandibles as teeths to tear the wood in circular patterns (Chamberlain). It is important to note that these insects do not eat the wood, like people they only use it to build and create. Most of the wood they carve is discarded or ends up having minor use inside the nest. These holes are about one inch in diameter and 6 to 10 inches deep. In most cases, they would go for unpainted, weathered woods of soft, which are soft like cedar and cypress or tough dead and decaying wood. Putting aside the eye-catching blue coat, these bees can also be pointed out for their large size. While the average bee grows up to 17 mm, a blue carpenter bee can grow between 12 to 25 mm. They can easily be confused with bumblebees as they somewhat look alike, but differ quite a bit. As the name suggests, these bees are identified by the bright blue hairs which cover most of its upper body (the thorax). The abdomen area can also be found with some shades of blue, but it is more subtle since the hairs are thinner. As for the rest of the body features, it is “clear, black and shiny, without any hairs” (Chamberlain). Often the blue carpenter bees are categorized as females while the males can be identified with greenish-yellow fur. Despite being huge, carpenter bees tend to be gentle. The females only sting in defense if there is potential harm to their nest, while the males who appear territorial and aggressive, do not sting since unlike many social bees they have no hives to protect. In addition, even if they were not known as gentle bees, the males would not sting since they are born without a stinger. The most they would do would probably be putting up a threatening display to intimidate anything that looks concerning to them.
When it comes to their life cycle, blue carpenter bees are quite similar to “other species of the insecta class in Arthropoda phylum” (Chamberlain). The blue carpenter bee also has four stages in their life cycle. That is egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The entire process takes about seven weeks to be complete. Before the female lays her eggs, the soon to be mother makes a hole on a wooden object which goes for two inches before she makes a right-angle turn, which goes for another 4 to 6 inches where she egg-lays. She then makes a brood cell for each egg, puts food therein, and seals it up. In the larval stage, the larva emerges once the egg has hatched. This larva lives on the food the mother kept on the brood cell (Keasar, 2010). The food is a mixture of pollen and regurgitated nectar and is known as bee bread. In the pupal stage, the larva develops into an adult. However, it is an inactive stage, and the bee is very vulnerable. The development, however, happens in the brood cell, unlike in other insects such as butterflies that have to build cocoons. Seven weeks after the egg is laid, an adult bee emerges from the brood cell.
Importance to the Environment
Like many of the bee species, the carpenter bees are excellent pollinators. Unlike the average bees, blue carpenter bees do the best in open-faced or shallow flowers, due to their huge sizes. When it comes to flowers that are smaller in size like salvias and other long and tubular flowers, the carpenter bee is unable to enter the flowers. Therefore, it cuts a slit at the base of the corolla with its mouthparts and takes away the nectar minus pollinating the flower, thus referred to as nectar robbers. As they visit one flower, after the other, collecting nectar, the bees pick and transfer pollen (Keasar, 2010). Research shows that a third of our food relies on insect pollination (bees being one of the most important species). Some items as examples are; fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seed crops. They also pollinate wild plants, thus providing food for wildlife and birds.
When it comes to mating, the carpenter bees take part in a communal breeding display or lek polygny. Lek polygyny is a mating system where males provide no parental support to offspring and is also characterized by the pursuit of the male by the female in the species. To begin this mating system, the males will pick a location lacking any resources that are useful to nesting females, like a bush or tree brush, and then hover there until a female arrives to mate with them.It is rare for a male to stay or return to the same hovering location, most move around frequently (Alcock, 1993). For some unknown reason smaller males change hovering locations more frequently than larger males who opt to stay in the same location. In order to attract a female, males will release a strong floral scent, a pheromone produced by a large metasomal gland in the males body, essentially resembling the scent of a flower. Humans are actually able to smell this pheromone as well up to a couple meters (which is also assumed for the female carpenter bee). When the female approaches, the male bee will land on the plant and rub his legs and lower abdomen all over the plant. If the female receives the males advances, she will land on the part of the leaf he just marked and then begin mating. After they are done, the female will leave and the male will stay and wait for any additional females. The female has additional tasks as she must find durable wood to craft a home where she can care for her young. Then, the female carpenter bees can only have 1 to 2 offspring per year, depending on the geographical location.
These are mostly considered solitary bees. Where social, the females inhabit some simple nests and, in this case, divide labor among themselves. Several can do foraging and nest laying. In some cases, only one bee does the foraging and nest laying while the rest guard the hive. In solitary cases, the bee which sets up the nest does the building of cells, laying of eggs, foraging, and guarding (Buchman, n.d). Living a solitary life creates more responsibilities for these bees. For instance, although taken care of within a shield of wood, the larvae (and the bee itself) are not completely guarded against predators, such as a woodpecker. Woodpeckers are attracted to the nest of these carpenter bees and thus may cause structural damage to feed on the insects. Alone the bee has less defense and must do everything within its power to protect its young, even if it involves sacrificing itself. For a bee that does not lay as many eggs as others within its species and has no colony to rely on, it has to be quite careful of predators.
Being that carpenter bees have to excavate wood to do their laying therein can be very damaging to a variety of wood made objects. The females can either dig up new tunnels or enlarge and reuse old ones. These galleries can extend further than what is visible on the surface of the wood. Though not as destructive to the wood as termites are, substantial damage can occur if they persistently dwell on the same piece of wood. The holes made result in the rotting and decaying of the wood due to moisture penetration. With time, the cost of repairing such holes can accumulate to significant amounts because they mostly use high or difficult to access areas (Buchman, n.d). They also leave stains known as ejecta, which drip from the holes which must be carefully and thoroughly removed and primed before their treatment and painting. The presence of carpenter bees can also be annoying, especially when they have been constructing their nest since mating in spring. The males usually hover in front of those around nesting sites. Fortunately for people, they are harmless and do not sting.
Prevention and Control
Painting remains the best control measure for this type of bees. The application should be in the woods where they are likely to bore since they do not drill holes in painted woods. One can also use stains and preservatives; while not as effective as the paint, they can still cause some repellence, hence more effective than unpainted woods. The control process is significantly achievable before the holes are entirely drilled by spraying either liquid, dust, or aerosol insecticide with contents such as bifenthrin, deltamethrin, or cyfluthrin directly into the gallery (Gao et al., 2020). The hole is then left open for a few days to allow the bees to come into contact with the insecticide and later distribute it throughout the nest, then seal the nest using carpenter’s glue or any other suitable sealant. The action will prevent wood rot and decay, moisture intrusion plus, other bees using the same site. In the case where large numbers of carpenter bees have invaded, a pump up or hose sprayer is applicable. The treatment can only last two to three weeks; thus, reapplication is necessary. The use of traps is also a proper remedy to carpenter bees; they may be made from simple material or bought online.
Buchman, S. (n.d). Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa spp.). U.S FOREST SERVICE. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/carpenter_bees.shtml
Chamberlain, M. (2020, January 31). Blue Carpenter Bee, Location, Habitat, Behavior
Honey, Images. Retrieved November 12, 2020, from
Gao, Y., Chen, Y., Xu, D., Li, E., Li, J., Ge, Z., & Zhou, Y. (2020, July). Preventive monitoring and study of insect damage of carpenter bees to timber components of Chinese historic buildings. In Preventive Conservation-From Climate and Damage Monitoring to a Systemic and Integrated Approach: Proceedings of the International WTA-PRECOM3OS Symposium, April 3-5, 2019, Leuven, Belgium (p. 87). CRC Press.
Keasar, T. (2010). Large carpenter bees as agricultural pollinators. Psyche, 2010. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/psyche/aip/927463/
Udayakumar, A., & Shivalingaswamy, T. M. (2019). Nest architecture and life cycle of Small Carpenter bee, Ceratina binghami Cockerell (Xylocopinae: Apidae: Hymenoptera). Sociobiology, 66(1), 61-65.
Alcock, John. “Carpenter Bee – Sexual Selection and the Mating Behavior of Solitary Bees.” Carpenter Bee – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, Elsevier B.V., 2020, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/carpenter-bee .
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