Many people are on the fence about whether carpenter bees are our friends or foes. Let’s face it. They do some pretty annoying stuff like drill holes in wooden structures such as fence posts or tree limbs and will sometimes pierce the corolla of a flower in order to get that sweet nectar without actually helping in the pollination process. It’s understandable that people might not be terribly fond of these guys.
However, despite their sometimes bad behavior, these bees are still very important to our eco system. While they do sometimes rob flowers of their nectar, they are still important pollinators of many native plants such as blueberries, passion fruit, and melons. One thing that most people don’t realize is that when they drill holes in wood, they are actually helping to start the break down dead limbs and logs so that the wood can decay and be recycled by nature. These bees are only a pest when they drill into wood we use for construction. But how are they supposed to know the difference? To put it simply their beneficial aspects far outweigh the negative. Let’s give these little guys a break.
Have you ever seen a carpenter bee? Did it seem like a nuisance to you?
If you are an expert on bees then you’ve probably already heard of Carlinville and the groundbreaking entomologist Charles Robertson. His research from over a century ago is once again catching the eye of the scientific community, as they found that in recent study of the bee population of Carlinville has declined by more than half since his groundbreaking studies of the bees in Carlinville spanning from 1887 until 1916. Numerous species have completely died off. Robertson documented the relationship between plants and their pollinators, looking at butterflies, beetles, and flies in addition to bees. He discovered hundreds of new insect species, 20 of which are named after him. Robertson helped put Carlinville on the map, playing an incredibly important figure in the area of bee research even in our own time. He really laid the foundation for all research on bees and how they interact with their environment that has been done since then. Now scientists are looking back at his research to help them understand why so many bees have disappeared since then, and possibly discover a way to save them from dying off completely.
What do you think scientists and the world need to do to save bees from extinction? How might our lives be affected by the loss of bees?