Carpenter Bees – Social

Carpenter Bees – Social

Music; Ambience: carpenter bee

JM: We tend to think of bees as living in hives, which are home to thousands of insects. But it turns out that many bees prefer to live in small groups, or go it alone. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

MO: “There are about twenty thousand species of bees in the world and most of them like a butterfly or a moth simply have little contact with other individuals as an adult.”

JM: Biologist Mike Orlove is fascinated by carpenter bees, so named because they drill into wood to make their nests. He says that carpenter bees are among the more solitary bees — they sometimes live one to a nest. In other cases, there might be eight or nine females working together to raise a brood. If that’s the case, the queen or “alpha” bee lays all the eggs and does all the foraging for food. The other carpenter bees work to keep the nest at a constant temperature. There’s one bee that serves as a sort of cork to stop up the entrance to the nest and keep the heat inside. And at times, when the alpha bee has just laid an egg and is creating a cell for the egg to mature in, a helper bee will do what appears to be a kind of dance.

MO: “The bee runs in place like she’s doing the moonwalk, she’s sort of running but not going anywhere. It generates heat, enabling the alpha bee to do this work late into the night, in the cool of the night. And if the temperature continues to drop like after a thunderstorm, a third and a fourth bee might even get in a line to add her heat- generating, and you get a whole bunch of them doing the dance then, one right behind the other.”

JM: 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 - Social

Carpenter bees are among the more solitary bees, sometimes living one to a nest.
Air Date:04/16/2013
Scientist:
Transcript:

Carpenter Bees - Social

Music; Ambience: carpenter bee

JM: We tend to think of bees as living in hives, which are home to thousands of insects. But it turns out that many bees prefer to live in small groups, or go it alone. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

MO: "There are about twenty thousand species of bees in the world and most of them like a butterfly or a moth simply have little contact with other individuals as an adult."

JM: Biologist Mike Orlove is fascinated by carpenter bees, so named because they drill into wood to make their nests. He says that carpenter bees are among the more solitary bees -- they sometimes live one to a nest. In other cases, there might be eight or nine females working together to raise a brood. If that's the case, the queen or "alpha" bee lays all the eggs and does all the foraging for food. The other carpenter bees work to keep the nest at a constant temperature. There's one bee that serves as a sort of cork to stop up the entrance to the nest and keep the heat inside. And at times, when the alpha bee has just laid an egg and is creating a cell for the egg to mature in, a helper bee will do what appears to be a kind of dance.

MO: "The bee runs in place like she's doing the moonwalk, she's sort of running but not going anywhere. It generates heat, enabling the alpha bee to do this work late into the night, in the cool of the night. And if the temperature continues to drop like after a thunderstorm, a third and a fourth bee might even get in a line to add her heat- generating, and you get a whole bunch of them doing the dance then, one right behind the other."

JM: 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.