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The Lazy Bee

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  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNuty with Clemson extension and Making It Grow. Carpenter bees, who look like bumble bees but have a hairless abdomen, often are among the bees found around blueberries. Although the flowers of blueberries are perfect, with male and female flowers, they aren’t self-fertile. There is a special native bee, the blueberry bee, which often does the lion’s share of pollination on blueberry farms and the European honeybee also aids in this work. The carpenter bee, however, is a lazy sort of insect, and rather than stick its tongue way down in the flower to get at that nectar (and get dusted with pollen in the process) it sometimes cuts a slit in the bottom of the flower and gets a stomach full of nectar from that source. In this case, this native bee does not behave as mother nature intended – like a kid who eats with his fingers instead of his fork.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.