Bees and firewood

MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
547
NE Missouri
I've got one section of red oak that bees like to swarm around. The bees are about the size and shape of honeybees, but these are more black, and some have pollen on them. They go into the holes left by wood borers and in between the splits. Has anyone else noticed bees doing this? IMG_7476.jpg
 

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Prof

Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
528
Western PA
Not sure, but it might be a mason bee. I know they like to hang out in holes in wood and are good pollinators. I don't think they sting either.
 
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MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
547
NE Missouri
Not sure, but it might be a mason bee. I know they like to hang out in holes in wood and are good pollinators. I don't think they sting either.
I do believe you've got it, we have the Blue Orchard Bee, which is a mason bee and sounds exactly like them. Some of the wood borer holes are sealed off with mud, which would be their nesting tunnels. Their nesting tunnels are fascinating on their own. From the link. "As the mother mason bee creates and provisions her nesting tunnel, the first cells, farthest from the entrance, contain eggs that will become females, and the last cells, closest to the entrance, contain the eggs that will become males. Males, being smaller and maturing faster, will leave the nest tunnel first in the spring, which makes way for the females to exit the tunnel slightly later."


This planet is fascinating!
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,710
07462
One thing to watch out for and I was on the wrong side of this last summer is bald face hornet nests, as wood seasons the sun bleaches out the color and everything turns the greyish look, well the nests are also greyish and those hornets dont like weed whackers operating near there nests, well 8 or 9 hornets didnt like it, and it happened really fast.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,134
Northern NH
There are lots of wild bees that do not sting and quietly do their thing. Remember honey bees are an introduced and arguably invasive species in North America. They area reservoir of disease that gets into the wild bee population and knocks it back. Add in various neonicotinoud based pesticides and both the honey bees and wild bees are having a tough time of it. I think the bumblebees are having it particularly rough.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,710
07462
I use to be a lawn junkie, make the grass as green as it could be with no weeds by using all different types of lawn food / weed preventers. I now take a whole different approach to grass, I use a more friendly fertilizer, de-thatch and air rate, thick grass prevents weeds in the end. I feel bad for the bee's so I plant a whole assorted bunch of wild flowers in all different spots, I tend to expand outward every year to, as my older neighbor would say "no bees, no life" and thats an understatement.
 

MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
547
NE Missouri
One thing to watch out for and I was on the wrong side of this last summer is bald face hornet nests, as wood seasons the sun bleaches out the color and everything turns the greyish look, well the nests are also greyish and those hornets dont like weed whackers operating near there nests, well 8 or 9 hornets didnt like it, and it happened really fast.
OUCH, that ruined your day, I know they pack quite a punch..

A few years ago I was mowing around some cedar trees in our yard. I heard some noise, looked off to my side and there was a hornet nest right about eye level, about 4 feet away. I ran off that mower as fast as possible. Went back after dark to get the mower. Left the nest there for the rest of the summer. Two things about that still amaze me, that I heard the hornets over the noise of the mower and wearing ear muffs, and I didn't get stung.

We have had yellow jacket nests around here as well, my dad mowed over one and got stung, and a friend was cutting down a tree and got stung. They get testy also.. But it's been several years.
 
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MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
547
NE Missouri
I had no idea these were such important bees until @Prof mentioned mason bees and I looked them up. Now I'm going to have to build some nesting blocks for next years brood, because that wood will get burned. I'm all for coexisting with nature, except for ticks, and squirrels.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,134
Northern NH
My friend has a apple orchard and pollination is iffy in the spring. He tried making up nesting blocks and giving them to friends to hang up in the fall and then collected them in the spring and placed them around his orchard. He claims it made a difference assuming he had blossoms to pollinate. Earlier spring weather up in my area tends to be offset by short cold stretches and he can lose a lot of his early blossoms if we have a cold snap. The payoff to the friends is cider in the fall.
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
878
Western Washington
When I was working in the woods I never felt there was a shortage of bees. Now I guess we have murder hornets. Hope they’re able to stop that invasion. Those things creep me out
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,140
Palmyra, WI
When I was working in the woods I never felt there was a shortage of bees
Their foraging range could be a few miles or less. If ag fields and lawns with tasty pesticides were beyond that range, I bet their survival rates were higher. Different strains of so called resistant honey bees, ones that can tolerate parasites and viruses etc, seem to be found in remote places (woodlands, forests), with efforts to integrate their genes into commercial honey bee genomes.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
696
Eastern Long Island NY
Although I don't know the wild bees in this country, bees generally don't have such a narrow waist - like ants do.

But it's cool nonetheless.

I once was blowing some leaves out of a depression left by a rotting root system of a crab apple. And I suddenly got stung on my ankles about 10 times. Turns out yellow jackets nesting in the hollows of the rotting roots don't like localized hurricanes. ..
 
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Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
878
Western Washington
My first encounter with wild honey bees was out of forks Washington. I cut a short old growth snag down and they blew up. One of the worst bee experiences I’ve ever had. Definitely different than domestic honey bees. Amazing how far they chased me. Sure glad to be out of that industry for many reasons lol
 

hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
579
Indiana
I haven't encountered bees in firewood yet.