Don’t fret over (a few) dead bees

Dead carpenter bee. Photo: SDF

In spring carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica, begin emerging from their winter hibernation. Many people are not concerned about dead bees but instead become alarmed when swarms of live carpenter bees are zooming around a wooden park bench or deck. Many young adult bees hibernate in a single burrow and a good structure may have many burrows. Male bees tend to come out first and swarm around waiting for female bees to come out. It can be intimidating but the males are harmless.

Other people worry about dead bees. Especially now since there has been so much

Dead bee below the fence where it spent the winter. Photo: SDF

press about pesticides, climate change, urbanization, and diseases that can threaten bee populations, a dozen or so dead bees on the ground could raise concern. This was the case yesterday when someone sent pictures of dead carpenter bees on their deck to a list serve I am part of. Dave Shetlar (Bugdoc Dave) from Ohio State University sent a quick response that is was natural for some bees to die over winter. The live bees just push them out onto the ground.

On the way home from work yesterday I found my own dead carpenter bee below a burrow in an old wooden fence. So I took some pictures and read up on carpenter bees in a great old review. Spring is here and carpenter bees are emerging from their burrows, dead or alive.

2017-06-16T15:14:17+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Steve Frank
I am broadly interested in the ecology and management of arthropod pests. Herbivorous arthropods cause extraordinary damage to plants in agricultural, urban, and natural ecosystems. Understanding interactions between pests and their environment, plant hosts, and natural enemies can improve management practices and reduce pesticide applications.