Trivia Blog Series: Who You Bee
Welcome first time visitors and returning readers. PX3 hopes to see all of you at Calvert Brewing Company Trivia Night on May 15, 2019 from 7 pm - 9 pm. Get to know PX3 members, have a great craft brew, win prizes with your keen trivia skills. PX3 Trivia will consist of three categories: Maryland Native Bees, the Honey Bee, & Your Garden Potential. Join us and test your knowledge, learn fun facts and have some really good beer. For the first 15 days of May 2019 PX3 will post blogs that we will then draw trivia questions from. We welcome you to visit daily and take a look! Thanks to Calvert Brewing Company for partnering with us for this fun event.
There are a little over 400 native bee species in Maryland. Apis meliferus aka... the European ‘honey bee’ is what most Americans think represents a bee. The International Honey Commission does indeed declare the ‘honey bee’ as the only bee which produces honey, or rather what can be sold as honey.
There are other bees who produce a ‘sweet syrup’ to feed their young including our native bumble bee population and the Central American stingless bee. All are part of the family of bees called Apideae aka...the social bee, defined as a bee that has a queen who presides over a population of workers, her daughters, and make drones to proliferate their genetics. Both the stingless bee and the honey bee produce large quantities of ‘sweet syrup’ while the typical bumble bee produces only enough to manage the smaller annual hive. Bumble bees are also different in that the workers and drones of the hive die at the end of the year, when mating flights are over and resources become scarce; only the queen survives. This factoid means that in the spring when you see a bumble bee you are amongst royalty.\, so kneel peasant!
Bumble bee queens are much larger than most bees with the exception of their cousin the carpenter bee Xylocopa virginica. This is the shiny abdomened species of the carpenter bee that buzzes loudly around your home and are most often mistaken for bumble bees. Bumble bee queens in comparison have very fuzzy (often like velvet) haired abdomens and don’t approach ‘intruders’. The X. virginca male, easily id’d by the large yellow square on his face, has one job; to protect his mate hidden away in the wood of often your home, deck, sheds; whah, whah, whah. Old wood options left from these areas can help with this unfortunate behavior. The carpenter bee does not eat wood but only drills a hole to raise young in. The male X. virginica does not even possess a stinger and has made a successful con-job of tricking the fearful into thinking he is the most dangerous of all and you should just back off! In reality you can put your hand under this defensive pro and feel the beat of his wings as he stares you down; you won’t win, he can’t blink either.