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The Carpenter Who Buzzes

The Carpenter Who Buzzes

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Amit Kumar is back with another amazing photo story of the Carpenter bees. In this story he describes the major characteristics of the Carpenter bee and also defines their difference from bumblebees.

Keeping Precious Creatures Organized for Grumpy Scientists: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

I came across the memorable mnemonic for taxonomy when looking up my current object of admiration: the carpenter bee.

(If you remember your Order, it’s Primates, and among your Class-mates are bats and rats.)

My present accommodation in the Western Ghats has a wall of blue trumpet vine which are mauve. Carpenter bees zigzag there all day.

They land on a flower, dive deep for the nectar, reverse, exit, and then buzz into the next flower. Here’s what I found about them.

– The carpenter is a solitary bee – no hives, honey.

– It is the largest bee in India.

– They mate in flight, or ‘on the wing’.

– They are significant pollinators.

– They drill into wood to create their nests.

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– Optical refraction, not pigmentation, makes their membranous wings lustrous and iridescent.

– Male dies after mating.

They look much like bumblebees. They are as large, dark and chubby, but with one big difference: bumblebees have fuzzy butts while the carpenters have shiny leathery behinds.

PS: One wonders what percentage of humans would classify as carpenter, what as bumble.

Also Read: How I met the wild

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