W. V. Balduf

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Annals of The Entomological Society of America





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This, the common carpenter bee of eastern North America, inhabits a system of longitudal or vertical tunnels, with a single entrance, bored presumably only in dead but solid wood, either deciduous or pine. Economically it is only of secondary importance, due chiefly to occasional damage to wooden structures and to its limited role in pollination of flowers. Juvenile adults of both sexes winter in the tunnels. Mating, accompanied by a bobbing “dance” occurs in April. The bee seems to prefer refurbishing old tunnels to boring new ones or dispersing new sites. The females prepare series of brood cells in the tunnels, providing each cell with larval food, an egg, and a partition. Pollen and nectar are known to have been obtained from flowers of 19 families, either by bodily entering the apex of the corolla, or by puncturing or slitting the side near the base to reach the nectaries in deep flower cups. The number of cells in a series suggests that one “mother” produces no more than six to eight young. Development takes place from May through August, and emergence of the juvenile is completed by early September. The oldest bee, developed in the bottom of the tunnel, emerges first, and does so by biting its way through several partitions and crawling over the undeveloped bees above. Both male sand females temporarily store and later consume some nectar and pollen before winter sets in. Only one generation develops in a year. When transported to new environments in June, the bees adjust readily but require an orientation flight to study the new landmarks. When released up to 7 miles from home, a large percent of bees were able to return. The larvae are parasitized by the bobyliid flies Anthrax sinnuosa and A. simpson. Birds occasionally attack adults, larvae, and pupae. No gyrandromorphs were found among the 69 adult bees obatianed at Longeview, Illinois.

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