- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Plumbers, especially a plumber named "Joe," are hogging the news a lot lately.
But what about the carpenters? What about the carpenter bees?
The carpenter bee, a black bee larger than a bumble bee, burrows into dead trees, logs and your unpainted or unvarnished fence posts or deck.
You’ll see it nectaring flowers, too. Below, this female carpenter bee (Xylocopa) is robbing nectar from sage. Maybe she's Josie the Carpenter?
You’ll hear the carpenter bee before you see it.
Its buzz is loud and it means business.
The next thing you notice: the eyes. They're huge.
Carpenter bees, like most adult insects, have compound eyes. The surface contains circular or hexagonal areas called facets. Each facet is the lens of a single eye unit or ommatidium. The lenses of the ommatidia form images.
Sound complicated? Well, an eye is nothing more than an organ of vision sensitive to light rays or a complex light receptor. (Caution: Do not call the eyes of your family and friends "complex light receptors." You will get no points.)
Insects with compound eyes readily detect motion and sense ultraviolet light better than we humans do.
The better to see you, m' dear./o:p>/o:p>/o:p>