Do Carpenter Bees Pollinate? – Their Ecological Role

Pollinating insects are essential for creating and preserving ecosystems. These ecosystems provide the necessities for many species. Pollinators are essential not for the survival of wildflowers and wild plants. They are also crucial for food production. About half of the fats and oil consumed in the world come from plants where animals and bees pollinate.

do carpenter bees pollinate?

Honey bees and bumblebees are popular pollinators. They forge on flowers like many other pollinating insects. They transfer pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma to get nectar and pollen to their colonies. Despite this, many individuals are not sure if giant carpenter bees pollinate. It brings about the question, do carpenter bees pollinate? Read more to find an answer to that.

Do Carpenter Bees Pollinate?

Yes, carpenter bees pollinate, including 500 species and 31 subgenera. Carpenter bees are vital pollinators.  They are often found feasting on different plants in our gardens and environment. Carpenter bees, like their bumblebee relatives, are morning eaters. They pollinate tomatoes, eggplants, passion flowers, vegetables, food plants, and flowers. 

The tracheal muscles of carpenter bees are powerful. They also come with muscles. They transform into living tuning forks when they hop on blossom flowers. Thus, they suck nectar away from the anthers to the stigma. They can also activate their flight muscles at higher energies to help them fly. This type of pollination is known as “Buzz Pollination” –  a trait that honey bees do not have. Pollen becomes discharged from flowers because of the vibrations.

Since carpenter bees have large bodies, they effectively find nectar. Also, they are resourceful in providing significant benefits to the environment. But, their vast size cannot penetrate long, tubular buds. Not excluding some that salvias and penstemons produce. Instead, these bees turn into nectar scavengers. They use their mouth to create a hole in the bottom of the corolla. Then, they grab the nectar without pollinating the flower. We observed this, too, in the case of yellow bellflowers (Tecoma stans). It’s also called yellow elder and trumpet bush. 

The Ecological Impact of Carpenter Bees

Many people try to get rid of Carpenter bees because they are often known as pests. Even though they have limited sting threats, they can destroy wooden structures. Unknowing to this set of people, the bees benefit the environment in ways we cannot overlook. We can understand their behavior and choose preventive measures that consider the natural lifespan of these insects. This is to ensure their safety to artificial resources.

Carpenter bees have a unique large body. Thus, they are very effective pollinators. They also make a massive contribution to the ecosystem. Carpenter bees have proven not to be a nuisance with the method they portray in search of food. Hence, they feed on nectar and pollen. One-third of the foods we eat, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts (almonds), and seed crops, rely on insect pollination. 

Our agricultural industry depends on insect pollinators, such as honey bees, for about $29 billion. From this sum, about 15% of such an amount comes from native bees such as the carpenter bees. Insect pollinators affect the reproduction of plants. It supplies food sources for birds and other animals.

Note that dormancy starts in the adult stage. In this stage, the female carpenter bees begin foraging anytime the temperature increases. It implies that it is easy to alter the commencement of foraging in greenhouses. A significant benefit of the carpenter bee is finding it all over the planet. Therefore there will be a need to decrease the import of exotic pollinators. Since many solitary bees specialize in pollination, they have minimal active seasons, not completing pollination. 

Carpenter bees have a significant impact on our ecosystem since they are efficient pollinators. In this light, let’s go over to some of the plants these insects pollinate. 

Plants That Carpenter Bees Pollinate

Passion Flower 

Carpenter bees are excellent pollinators to Passiflora spp. Passiflora spp is often called Passionflower. Carpenter bees pollinate this crop more than the method honey bees use. 

Tomatoes

In Australia, Carpenter bees now undergo rearing in greenhouses to pollinate tomatoes. The pollination prowess of these carpenter bees increased tomatoes’ weight by 10 percent. These bees work together with the wind. They use their excellent scavenging skills in buzzing the anthers. This makes them very effective in pollinating tomatoes. 

Honeydew Melons

A study was carried out on honeydew melons in India. This study shows that when carpenter bees pollinate, greenhouse honeydew melons fruit will increase threefold. So, their pollination led to the massive production of Honeydew melons. 

Cotton

They are essential pollinators of cotton in Egypt, India, and Pakistan. And in the USA, they are pollinators of male-sterile cotton fields. Also, carpenter bees pollinate night-flowering cactus in Israel.

Nut Plants

  • Organic pollination is most beneficial to almost all nut crops’ yield. It causes an increment in the number of nuts produced. This pollination is clear in Almond plants. 
  • Pollination of Brazil nuts depends on giant bees – carpenter bees, in particular, to manufacture products for sale. 
  • Bees can increase chestnut yield in the economy. However, wind performs most of the pollination. Among the most produced nut crops, only walnuts and many species of peanuts are often produced alone. Production becomes rapid with the help of wind pollination. 

Final Thoughts On Carpenter Bees Being Pollinators

In conclusion, carpenter bees have extensive active periods and eat many crops. They can also buzz-pollinate. As a result, they will be more adaptable as agricultural pollinators.  Carpenter bees are a little lesser than honey bees in the pollination labor force. Although, they have superior per-capita pollination effectiveness in some crops. The reason is that carpenter bees do not build enormous nests. 

The ability to persuade these bees to nesting material enables the provision of the material. The materials are for agricultural settings. And it would help if you transport them to areas where pollination services are required. Several issues in the management of carpenter bees for crop pollination remain unsolved. There is an essential need to create a controlled breeding program for carpenter bees. It would encompass genotype selection, mating, and nest establishment.