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June 18, 2011

The EASTERN CARPENTER BEE And Other Relevant Issues...

It's been awhile since my last post - I've been busy.

I work 40 hours a week, and commute an additional 3 and 1/2 hours a day. That's 57.5 hours a week I allocate to my job.

I get home around 7PM, week-nights, and then have the joy of browsing select websites and blogs, doing research into issues that interest me, and accomplishing little by fact that dial-up internet is obsolete, I go to bed, wake up, and it begins all over again.

I'm not complaining... I feel I'm accomplishing a lot despite my limited assets. I've been busy posting at the NORML Blog... "HIV in chimps slowed with administering cannabinoids to test subjects...", yet another potential pharma drug in the pipeline based on the cannabis plant.

And I've been busy with the topic posted by Slam Dunks re: Sgt. Patrick Rust who was found dead in a field after serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

And, I've been contacted by a producer at NBC Universal Studios who is doing a story on Brianna Maitland, a missing person case I devoted a lot of time to starting in late 2004, and lasting for several years... the story can be found here at Slam Dunks Blog: Brianna Maitland. I am being invited to participate in the show: "DISAPPEARED", on NBC.

I've had "car problems", but nothing I can't handle myself... it's simply the time involved, given weekends are both to unwind and forget work, as well as to do what needs being done, i.e., fixing my car. And sleeping, resting, unwinding.

The title of this topic is "the Eastern Carpenter Bee"... of which I had the pleasure of witnessing for several weeks.
Originally - I don't like bees, am very phobic towards them, so this bee the size of a bumble-bee scared me as it hovered next to a wooden shed at work.
It turned out the bee fascinated me every time I went out for a smoke break. This rather large bee hovered from what I can only guess was dawn till dusk, flying after other insects in it's range of sight. It never showed aggression towards me, so I began to like the bee, and appreciate it. I was particularly amazed that it was airborne and hovering during the whole day, I mean, how can it do that all day with it's big body and small wings?

It turns out after doing some research this is the Eastern Carpenter Bee - Xylocopa virginica, and this was a male, incapable of stinging me; only the females have stingers, and they're busy collecting pollen. What I thought was a male bee attacking any other bugs including hornets and wasps, turned out to be different. Apparently, the male guards the nest while eager to mate, and what I took to be defensive apparently is this male bee attempting to "mate" with these other bugs, along with it's curiosity.

With the disappearance of honey bees and the rare glimpse of a bumblebee anymore, these carpenter bees may be our only hope. We need insects to spread pollen from plants... the carpenter bee seems resistant to whatever is killing of other bee species. Unfortunately, carpenter bees get a bad rap, since they make their nests in soft wood that often is a part of a human dwelling or storage shed. They "drill" out a dime sized hole in soft wood, and their home branches off at a 90 degree angle from the insertion hole.

Websites claiming to be mediaries of humans and insects recommend applying insecticide and plugging such hives. Killing the bees. They do, for their credit offer up the alternative of building a structure made out of soft pine for the bees to relocate to. But who's going to take the time and spend the money to do that? Fact is, these bees are crucial to our survival, and as I see it, they cause minimal harm to that old storage hut.

The bee I was fascinated by lasted about 3 weeks, hovering and flying off after other insects. I found it dead one morning...

Fortunately, another male has taken it's place by the old shed. I am suddenly, not phobic of bees anymore... cautious, yes, but not phobic.


  1. Thanks for the plug Bob, and for announcing your exciting news.

    Interesting on the carpenter bees, but you keep those stingers with you and don't send 'em my way.

  2. Thanks Slam...

    But re: the carpenter bees... already on their way... heck, what are friends for? :)

    Remember, the hovering males don't have stingers... they probably make good pets, in fact. Good at keeping the nasty bees away!