Are Carpenter Bees Pollinators? The Plants that Need Carpenter Bees

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Sure, we know all about the helpful honey bees and how they fly from plant to plant to distribute pollen. But what about carpenter bees? Are carpenter bees pollinators too?

Are Carpenter Bees Pollinators? The Plants that Need Carpenter Bees

Not all plants are wind pollinated. Some of them badly need carpenter bees to propagate. CC Image courtesy of Daniel Schwen on Wikipedia

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Carpenter bees are excellent pollinators

There’s your answer. Carpenter bees are very active pollinators. You might have been taught about pollination in your days in elementary school. But just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a little recap. Pollination happens with the flower’s pollen is transferred from the stamen to the pistil. This natural process starts the production of seeds and gives the plant a chance to make more of its kind and ultimately further its species. The procedure is simple, but it impacts billions of living organisms on this planet.

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In general, bees are pollinators, though they do vary on how effective they are on different kinds of plants. But carpenter bees are one of the few species that are exceptional at doing their jobs. So it goes without saying that these bees are among lend a huge helping hand on plant reproduction.

For a better understanding at how seriously the carpenter bee takes its job, here’s a list of only some of the plants that they pollinate:

Garden Flowers

Marigold, lavender, and chives are only a few of the flowers that attract bees in a garden. Carpenter bees usually move into a house that has a lot of flowering plants nearby. They’re also “generalists”. So they’re not very picky as to which bloom they should land on. Many gardeners even credit these bees for helping with their floras.


Many trees are wind pollinated. They create a lot of dry pollen. And they rely heavily on wind energy to carry them to their proper destinations. However, trees like apples, cherries, peaches and willows don’t rely on the wind. They need carpenter bees and other insects for this process. They lure them in by producing bright, showy and scented flowers and attach their pollens to them to help with the pollination.

Obligate Plants and Medicinal Plants

There are particular plants that don’t just need bugs for pollination. They heavily depend on them for their species’ survival.

Carpenter bees are one of those bugs. They’re “obligate pollinators”. Meaning, some plants depend on them alone for reproduction. Without them, these plants will dramatically decrease in numbers or even go extinct.

One example for this is the Maypop or Passiflora incarnata. This medicinal flower isn’t pollinated by any other insect, just carpenter bees. And it’s used for a variety of medicines that deal with anxiety disorders. Some of its compounds are even ingredients for making sedatives and anticoagulants. So if carpenter bees go away, this plant will definitely follow.

Greenhouse Fruits and Vegetables

Lastly, carpenter bees have been studied to show impressive pollinating skills on greenhouse plants. A study from the University of Haifa in Israel stated that when it comes to greenhouses, a specific carpenter bee species called Xylocopa is even better at pollination compared to honey bees. That’s because the Xylocopa has amazing qualities that make them excellent pollinators. They’re active longer, more tolerant with higher temperatures and can even work with minimal light.

So the next time you encounter a carpenter bee somewhere in your house. Ask yourself, “ Are carpenter bees pollinators? ” It sounds a little bit ridiculous. But think about how much good it can do before trying to get rid of it. After all, if it’s not doing anything major to you and your property, it’s best to just leave it alone.