Question of the Week – Carpenter Bee

This week, the question was: What caused the slit in the sides of these blueberry flowers?

These slits were made by carpenter bees. Carpenter bees commonly cut through blueberry flowers to access nectar from the side, rather than the open bottom. This practice, known as “nectar robbing,” minimizes contact with the flower’s reproductive parts, reducing pollen transfer. While carpenter bees do contribute to pollination, they are not nearly as efficient as bees that access nectar through the bottom of the flower. In addition, once the slit is cut, it may encourage other bees to enter through the side. Honey bees have also been observed cutting slits to rob nectar. To learn more about blueberry pollination, read more here.

This week’s question is from Millie Davenport, Director of the Clemson Home and Garden Information Center.

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