There are thousands of different species of bees, and when people think of bees they quite often think of…honey! That being said, every species of bee have different ecological functions, and not all species of bees actually produce honey.
Carpenter bees are known for their ability to drill holes in wood to create their nests. Although this is an amazing feat, it’s also troublesome for homeowners. But putting all that aside, do carpenter bees produce honey?
What Are Carpenter Bees?
Carpenter bees are often confused for bumblebees because both species look very similar to one another. That being said, bumblebees have hair and fur around their abdomen, while carpenter bees are hairless and often shiny.
Along with this, carpenter bees aren’t like other types of bees like honey bees because they don’t live in hives or holes in the ground. Carpenter bees bore holes into wood to make their nest.
In the Spring, carpenter bees quickly look for a mate and a place to nest and to lay their eggs. They will bore their way into wood to create a tunnel system that they use to lay eggs and stay safe during the season. They will often reuse nests from previous years, but they are often considered a nuisance because carpenter bees will often bore their way into your home such as the siding of your home or your porch.
That being said, carpenter bees generally prefer softwoods which means certain homes might be at more risk than others. Learn more on how carpenter bees drill holes in wood!
Carpenter Bees and the Environment:
Many people look to eradicate carpenter bees completely because they have the potential to cause damage to their homes. That being said, carpenter bees are important to our environment. Similar to other types of bees, carpenter bees do pollinate, which means they are very important to our overall environment and ecosystem.
Do Carpenter Bees Produce Honey?
No, carpenter bees do not make or produce honey. There are over 700 species of carpenter bee around the world, and none of them produce honey. You might be wondering, do carpenter bees pollinate, but they do not produce honey. This boils down mainly to carpenter bees being more solitary insects rather than bumblebees who live in large colonies of hundreds or thousands of other bees.
Because carpenter bees aren’t social insects, there isn’t a need or a use to produce honey, and that’s the main driving factor for carpenter bees not making honey. Carpenter bees also use buzz pollination which allows them to knock additional pollen from flowers which honey bees can’t do.
Because of this, we do need to remember that carpenter bees are beneficial to our environment, so we don’t just want to kill them.
How Do Other Bees Produce Honey?
Producing honey is a very difficult and labor intensive process for other species of bees. The basic process involves collecting nectar from flowers and using this nectar to produce honey through a series of enzyme activity, water evaporation as well as regurgitation by individual bees.
Since each individual bee can only make just a slight amount of honey (about half a teaspoon in its lifetime), to make meaningful amounts of honey it involves the work of hundreds if not thousands of individual bees. This is why honey production is only possible by social or colony bees rather than solitary bees like carpenter bees.
Bees produce honey by collecting nectar from flowers, ingesting the nectar into a special area of their body called the “honey stomach”. From their the enzymes inside the bee’s honey stomach will break down the nectar into a form slightly closer to honey. From their this is returned to the hive where it is regurgitated and then the process is continued by other bees in the colony. After this process if completed multiple times, then the nectar is fully turned into honey, and is placed in the honeycombs of the hive!
To ensure the honey lasts and doesn’t spoil, the bees will actually work to dry out the honey by flapping their wings until the moisture levels are low enough that the honey won’t ferment.
Final Thoughts On Carpenter Bees and Honey:
As you’ve just learned from this guide, carpenter bees don’t produce honey. Honey is produced by quite a few different types of bees, but they have to be done by social bees, rather than solitary bees like carpenter bees.
Since carpenter bees live in nests with only a few other bees, they don’t have the “bee-power” or the need to create honey, so they don’t. That being said, I hope this guide on do carpenter bees produce honey has been helpful!