Bouquets and Bugs: Hostas and Carpenter Bees

So.  I was having company, something that I enjoy immensely.  My friend Deepak brough his partner Slawek over for dinner and to see the gardens.  Before they came I picked a pretty bouquet of Limelight Hydrangea with some hosta blooms mixed in. Fragrant HOSTAS!!  Stained Glass is one of them, and a generic unnamed rather ordinary hosta sends out the most fragrant blooms.  That hosta came from a friend’s front yard.  It and its siblings were threatening to take over the universe, and at the time I was eager to fill a lot of empty garden spaces.  It is now tucked next to the house on the west side.  I rarely pay much attention to it.  Silly me! Here I was thinking that I was providing it a decent home and I am graced instead by such a sweet fragrance.  It is gracing me.

Fragrant and Unnamed Hosta

Though I’m not a bug person, I am at least a bit charmed by the variety of insects that are drawn to the gardens.  The other evening I spied a huge cicada underneath a Brunnera.  This morning I watched a carpenter bee nuzzle Tardiva.  It was only a year ago that I heard the term “carpenter bees.”  Like most people I assumed they were large bumblebees.  As it turns out, they are not.  Carpenter bees are larger, and have shiny abdomens.  Bumblebees’ abdomen’s have dense hair.  Basically, if it has a shiny butt, it’s a carpenter bee.  They are so named because they create shallow tunnels in dead wood, beams, or, in my case, under the door frame on my garage.  Carpenter bees are not aggressive and will only sting if highly provoked.  So, don’t try and cup one in your hand.  The males do not have stingers, by the way.

Carpenter Bee on Tardive

Carpenter bees make perfectly round holes entrances to their nests.  It is the females who make these holes that branch off into tunnels.  And though it sounds somewhat alarming to think of an insect, especially a bee, tunneling into the wooden facia of homes, they do not tunnel deeply and do very little damage.  They aren’t like termites or carpenter ants.  I rather like them.  They are great pollinators and I love their drone.  It’s bee music.

There was another insect on the Tardiva this morning.  It has an almost Mondrian look to it, as if some mod designer was commissioned to create a beetle. I wonder if it is some variety of Milkweed Bug??

My Mondrian Bug

9 thoughts on “Bouquets and Bugs: Hostas and Carpenter Bees

  1. interesting, i dont believe we have carpenter bees over here in england but we do have wasps that tunnel into sheds, outdoor tables etc, collecting wood pulp for their nests, and i’ve never heard of or smelt a fragrant hosta…

  2. If you do ever find out what that bug is, I want to know. I first saw one two summers ago when housesitting for friends in South Carolina, and now I regularly see them here, but have never discovered their identity. Charming things, aren’t they?

    For now, I may stick to your name: Mondrian Bug. I like it.

  3. Hi from Niagara falls, NY. After I read your post about your Mondrian Bug, I went out to my garden and guess what? A Mondrian Bug on the phlox. I am a Master Gardener but never saw this before and here it is in Michigan and Niagara Falls. I called Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the director did not know either, so he is sending the image I took of the bug to Cornell for the entomologists to take a look. Maybe it is new and can then be legitimately called a Mondrian Bug. Who knows. Very cool. Should have caught the little guy when I had the opportunity, but did not think he was unusual, just pretty.

    1. I vaguely remember seeing this bug before. I know when I took a picture of him a couple weeks ago, I had the feeling that I was taking a picture of something I had seen before. Let me know if you find out what he is. How cool would it be if we were the first to name him. But how often does that happen in this world of bloggers and photographers.

  4. Lovely header photo as well as that of the Hydrangea. I’ve been absent from too much blogging but pleased to have finally visited your blog. I look forward to more. Have a wonderful weekend.

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