Carpenter Bees – Nest

Carpenter Bees – Nest

Music; Ambience: carpenter bees

JM: Bees are resourceful multi-talented insects. Some of them, in fact, are skilled carpenters. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

MO: “They drill tunnels in wood, as perfect as if drilled by a drill bit. This is their nest: they actually nest right in the wood, just as certain other bees might dig into soil to build their nest.”

JM: Biologist Mike Orlove studies carpenter bees in special observation nests built at his home in Ithaca, NY. He tells us that the queen bee tunnels into wood with her mouth. Then she scrapes the sides of the tunnels to make sawdust, … forming a sort of plaster to wall off compartments within the tunnel. The cells are laid out end to end; it looks a little bit like a row of tin cans on their sides; and each becomes a separate nursery for the queen’s offspring. But this architectural layout presents a bit of a problem when it’s time for that first young bee to emerge.

MO: “The oldest one, the one that was first laid, is at the far end of the tunnel. They’re produced in sequence, one right after the other, so the one that is farthest from the entrance is the first one to develop, and if she were just going to chisel her way out as soon as she’s ready, she would be chiseling her way out through her immature siblings. And what she’ll essentially do is wait for them to get full coloration and a hard shell, so they don’t mind being walked over, and then the bee very carefully punches a hole at the edge of the partition and squeezes through and just steps over her siblings, once they’re tough enough to take it.”

JM: We’ll hear more about carpenter bees in future programs. To hear about our new CD, please visit pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Carpenter Bees - Nest

Bees are resourceful multi-talented insects, and some are skilled carpenters.
Air Date:04/15/2013
Scientist:
Transcript:

Carpenter Bees - Nest

Music; Ambience: carpenter bees

JM: Bees are resourceful multi-talented insects. Some of them, in fact, are skilled carpenters. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

MO: "They drill tunnels in wood, as perfect as if drilled by a drill bit. This is their nest: they actually nest right in the wood, just as certain other bees might dig into soil to build their nest."

JM: Biologist Mike Orlove studies carpenter bees in special observation nests built at his home in Ithaca, NY. He tells us that the queen bee tunnels into wood with her mouth. Then she scrapes the sides of the tunnels to make sawdust, ... forming a sort of plaster to wall off compartments within the tunnel. The cells are laid out end to end; it looks a little bit like a row of tin cans on their sides; and each becomes a separate nursery for the queen's offspring. But this architectural layout presents a bit of a problem when it's time for that first young bee to emerge.

MO: "The oldest one, the one that was first laid, is at the far end of the tunnel. They're produced in sequence, one right after the other, so the one that is farthest from the entrance is the first one to develop, and if she were just going to chisel her way out as soon as she's ready, she would be chiseling her way out through her immature siblings. And what she'll essentially do is wait for them to get full coloration and a hard shell, so they don't mind being walked over, and then the bee very carefully punches a hole at the edge of the partition and squeezes through and just steps over her siblings, once they're tough enough to take it."

JM: We'll hear more about carpenter bees in future programs. To hear about our new CD, please visit pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.