Category Archives: Nature

Home Bee

So, you remember the “New Bee” that was dull black and transformed into a beautiful adult bee? Well, he’s an old bee now, and since he emerged from his nest so late, it seems like he doesn’t really know how to be a bee. But he comes home every night and takes up a place under the eves of my house, or in one of the unoccupied nests. I’m sure this is the same bee, because of the way he acts, and because males don’t usually live this late into the season. Ever since he flew away, he’s made it clear that he does not want to be in captivity, but he still wants to stay close.

Very sweet, and very gentle, according to the bee experts, he’s supposed to be dead. But guess what, he’s not.

In for the night
Resting on the roof just above the gutter.

New Bee (new-bee!)

Hey, friends of mother bees, I have a new bee (a new-bee!). This one was laying outside my door yesterday morning as the last one was getting ready to fly away. I scooped it up thinking it was dead, and was surprised to see the legs start kicking. So I brought it in and tried to feed it, but it couldn’t eat (and wasn’t interested) because of a problem with its probiscis (like a tongue). This was certainly the ugly duckling of carpenter bees, completely black with no shine, and no wings. Poor thing was really struggling. I thought it was a male, because of a white spot on his face (not a proper square), but by late last night, was not certain. I thought it had been poisoned, or had some other dread bee disease. Watch this 11 minute video to see what happened late last night!

Learn more about carpenter bees. They are great polinators, and won’t destroy your house if you give them a more proper home in your yard, and they are fascinating to watch.

My Solitary Bee

After a long period of not seeing any bees, I found this one outside my door. Her hind legs were pointing in the wrong direction, and she couldn’t walk or fly. Rather than leave her there to die, I brought her in and fed her. She stayed with me for six days getting stronger each day until this happened on the last day.

Learn more about carpenter bees. They are great polinators, and won’t destroy your house if you give them a more proper home in your yard, and they are fascinating to watch.

This is getting to Bee a habit!

Since I started saving carpenter bees, one bee at a time, my Facebook friends have suggested that I write a children’s book. So, this is the beginning of it. Enjoy!

My Adventures with Solitary Bees, by Lori Arsenault

DSC_5058
“Bee Well” Flickr Album

To Bee or Not To Bee

A Real Story for Real Kids

When I was little, it was a good thing to read books to kids about make-believe things, and sometimes really scary things. But sometimes we got scared about things that we shouldn’t be afraid of, like bees. As I think about it now, I think it would have been good to have lots of stories about things we shouldn’t be afraid of, like bees!

We also read books about scary people, like old witches that eat children, and stuff like that. Well now that I’m nearing the age of an old witch, I think that was supposed to be just make-believe. Even more important, I think the children today should hear stories about all the wonderful things that people can learn when they get older, and that they’re not scary at all.

It was the spring of 2020 when I turned 65 and everyone had to stay home because of a pandemic. That’s when I first learned how wonderful carpenter bees can be. It all started when I found a little bee dying outside my back door. You can read about that in my post named, “Bee Well.”

I did a lot of reading and learned about that kind of bee and how some people say they’re bad and some people say they’re good. I learned how to help my little bee get well so that she could fly away and take care of the flowers in my yard and lay her eggs so that new bees could be hatched next spring. I also learned that I had neighbors who were afraid of their carpenter bees, and afraid that their homes would be eaten up and ruined.

What I learned is that bees like to live in plain wood. They don’t like it painted because that would mean it belongs to whoever painted it, and bees don’t paint. No, carpenter bees like plain wood that’s not painted so they can build their nests and come back to the same place year after year. As the wood gets older, the bees can even tell that their whole family lived in that same old wood, so they can always find their way home.

Well today, I discovered a new thing about my new bee friends.

To beeeee continued!

Bee Well

On May 4, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, I found this queen carpenter bee on the ground by my back door. She was struggling and it didn’t look like she would survive. So I moved her to a safe place in the yard and kept watch. As the evening chill came on, I moved her to a box in the house. She accepted some sugar water and got strong enough to walk several laps around the box, interacting with her surroundings.

This video shows her after a little nap, still moving pretty slowly. It was hard to tell if she was injured or not, or if she would make it through the night.

Overnight she found a comfortable place to be, and remained there without much movement. But the house was chilly, so positioned the piano lamp over the box and the warmth of the light made her mover head around but did not move from her resting place. On this “throne” that she found, she was able to curl her body around underneath her. I presumed this is how she would live in her nest. It appeared that she fell from the nest above my back door, so perhaps she is old and it was time for her to die. I don’t know. But I made her some breakfast and waited to see what would happen.

Video above is the little bee having supper. That evening I brought her box outside and she fairly quickly climbed halfway up the side of the box as soon as she felt the fresh air. But it was too cold out to see if she’s ready to leave. I felt that she needed to be stronger.

One of my friends following the story on Facebook suggested that I find her a flower so she could get some pollen. So, that’s what I did. At this point, I needed some advice. I brought the little creature out into the sun, and she started grabbing her wings, until she couldn’t hold onto them anymore. They started flapping and buzzing. So I brought her back int the dark and the buzzing stopped. She continued climbing all over the flower. I think it was a good experience that gave her some strength, but ws concerned that she still wasn’t strong enough to survive if she flew off. With her wings buzzing like they did, she could certainly have taken flight. My friends suggested that I find a beekeeper, so I did!

Joanne came over and looked at my bee and thought she was doing really well. She brought me some honey and a little piece of a honey comb that the little queen took to right away.

After a cold weekend, at the advice of the beekeeper, we built a wooden house for moving the queen outside. The goal is that she will build her nest in this rather than in my house. I moved her into the new house and put all her stuff in the house for her, but it seemed like she was going to need some additional time getting used to the new place. At least overnight.

The peg coming out of the side of the house is a hole the size of a carpenter bee nest. My son Dale made the house, and made the hole an L shaped tunnel just like a carpenter bee would make. Once we remove the peg from the side of the house, she’ll be able to get out on her own. Then the house will go into the back yard near the reeds, and hopefully she will be able to attract her colony back to her nest, and pollinate the beautiful purple flowers that live in my back yard.

The story continues…

Further Reading

Please read about carpenter bees, and help save these valuable pollenators.

If you don’t want to share your home with them, there are simple ways to give them a home right near yours. They are wonderful pollinators, and we need them to survive.

Here’s another article that will help you decide to keep your carpenter bees, or help find them a new home.

Lori’s bug rescue started a long time ago!

What’s in the jar?? As I recall, it was either a grasshopper or a beetle.