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Carpenter Bee - infested gate post | by MathTeacherGuy
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Carpenter Bee - infested gate post

Big black carpenter bees infest this old redwood gate post. The bores were an active nest and were discovered while demolishing the gate. I ran the Saw-zall almost directly through their nest. I was really amazed at the perfect consistency of the bores. They are almost perfectly round and nearly exact at 1/2 inch (12 mm). The bores ran the entire length of the timber. Reading up on carpenter bees, I learned that the male bees are aggressive and will harrass unwelcome visitors (like a homeowner replacing a gate) - but that the male lacks a stinger. The females, however, spend most of their time in these bores and will sting when the nest is disturbed. The proper name for these bees is Xylocopa Californica Arizonesis and they are one of many related species of wood-boring bees. Some sub-species are quite solitary; others build side-by-side nest tunnels; and some, as here, pretty much infest and destroy wood with many parallel tunnels. They don't eat the wood -- they cut it into fine sawdust with their mandible and discard it nearby.

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Taken on September 6, 2009