Carpenter Bees Pollinating Flowers of Maiden's Jealousy

This little fella and its friends have been frequent visitors to our front garden ever since our Maiden's Jealousy vine (Tristellateia australasiae) also known as Showers of Gold, has started to flower. Every flush of blooms thereafter guaranteed the return of these carpenter bees.

Recently, with techniques to promote continuous flowering in the Maiden's Jealousy vine, these carpenter bees now visit everyday. In our front fence, there could be as many as 5 bees all pollinating the flowers of the vine at the same time. It's no wonder, most of the flowers become fruits.

Carpenter Bees in our Garden

The carpenter bees in our garden are typically active in the mornings.

As seen from the above, this bee is bigger than the bees that gave us honey. Notice how it curls its abdomen forward as it rests on the flower to collect nectar.

from wikipedia:
Carpenter bees are traditionally considered solitary bees, though some species have simple social nests in which mothers and daughters may cohabit. Examples of this type of social nesting can be seen in the species Xylocopa sulcatipes and Xylocopa nasalis. When females cohabit, a division of labor between them occurs sometimes. In this type of nesting, multiple females either share in the foraging and nest laying, or one female does all the foraging and nest laying, while the other females guard.

Do the Carpenter Bees Sting?

This is something that I've been wondering. The bees can be annoying when I try to prune or deadhead the Maiden's Jealousy vine. They try to ward off anybody who's disturbing their nectar collecting activity by buzzing all over your head. So far, they haven't come too close to me though to pose real danger. But, yes, they can sting.

Male bees often are seen hovering near nests, and will approach nearby animals. However, males are harmless, since they do not have a stinger. Female carpenter bees are capable of stinging, but they are docile and rarely sting unless caught in the hand or otherwise directly provoked.

You can see the bee's yellow bands in the one below as it starts to alight on the flower.

Again, notice how the bee curls the lower part of its abdomen forward when it rests on the flower.

Here's the side view of the bee on the flower collecting nectar.

Can Bumblebees Fly?

I found this often quoted "question" a bit funny, because obviously they can. But, supposedly, there have been "scientific" claims that they cannot.
A widely believed falsehood holds that scientists proved that bumblebees are incapable of flight.

According to 20th century folklore, the laws of aerodynamics prove that the bumblebee should be incapable of flight, as it does not have the capacity (in terms of wing size or beats per second) to achieve flight with the degree of wing loading necessary. The origin of this claim has been difficult to pin down with any certainty. John McMasters recounted an anecdote about an unnamed Swiss aerodynamicist at a dinner party who performed some rough calculations and concluded, presumably in jest, that according to the equations, bumblebees cannot fly.

In later years McMasters has backed away from this origin, suggesting that there could be multiple sources, and that the earliest he has found was a reference in the 1934 book Le vol des insectes by French entomologist Antoine Magnan (1881–1938); they had applied the equations of air resistance to insects and found that their flight was impossible, but that "One shouldn't be surprised that the results of the calculations don't square with reality".
The calculations that purported to show that bumblebees cannot fly are based upon a simplified linear treatment of oscillating aerofoils. The method assumes small amplitude oscillations without flow separation. This ignores the effect of dynamic stall, an airflow separation inducing a large vortex above the wing, which briefly produces several times the lift of the aerofoil in regular flight. More sophisticated aerodynamic analysis shows that the bumblebee can fly because its wings encounter dynamic stall in every oscillation cycle.

Additionally, John Maynard Smith, a noted biologist with a strong background in aeronautics, has pointed out that bumblebees would not be expected to sustain flight, as they would need to generate too much power given their tiny wing area. However, in aerodynamics experiments with other insects he found that viscosity at the scale of small insects meant that even their small wings can move a very large volume of air relative to the size, and this reduces the power required to sustain flight by an order of magnitude.

Another description of a bee's wing function is that the wings work similarly to helicopter blades, "reverse-pitch semirotary helicopter blades". Bees beat their wings approximately 200 times a second. Their thorax muscles do not expand and contract on each nerve firing but rather vibrate like a plucked rubber band. This is efficient, since it lets the system consisting of muscle and wing operate at its resonant frequency, leading to low energy consumption. Further, it is necessary, since nerves cannot fire 200 times per second. These types of muscles are called asynchronous muscles and are often found in insect wings.

How do Bees Buzz?

One common, yet incorrect, assumption is that the buzzing sound of bees is caused by the beating of their wings. The sound is actually the result of the bee vibrating its flight muscles, and this can be achieved while the muscles are decoupled from the wings.

Here's a bee buzzing its way among the many flowers of the Maiden's Jealousy vine.

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