Carpenter Bee Strange Behavior

Asked May 15, 2020, 5:29 PM EDT

Hello. I live in Central NJ (Hopewell Borough, Mercer County). Today I witnessed what I thought was a mating process between carpenter bees, but after watching some online, I'm not so sure. One bee was on the asphalt, immobile and looked to be possibly dead (Bee 1). Two others (Bees 2 and 3) were hovering in a stationary position, about 6 inches away, and 1 inch above the asphalt. After about a minute, Bee 2 went to Bee 1 in a fashion similar to a mating position, but made thrusts that were very, very fast and erratic - almost like shaking Bee 1. Bee 1 was still immobile. After some time of thrusts (maybe 20 seconds, can't be sure but it was a substantial amount of time), Bee 2 flew back to where Bee 3 was still hovering, and Bees 2 and 3 continued to hover and watch Bee 1 (which was still basically immobile). After another minute or two, Bee 1 started moving slowly, and walked away from the other bees. At this point I rose to walk away, and all three bees flew away (Bee 1 flying slowly). Have you seen this type of behavior before? Was Bee 1 injured? I am very curious.

Mercer County New Jersey

1 Response

I am unfamiliar with the behavior of carpenter bees as their range doesn't extend to the region of the country I am from. Rutgers Univ. has an Extension service department.

You can find their directory here:

I suggest contacting this urban entomology specialist: