Karen, the Carpenter Bee

Karen Bee in flight 2

This is Karen. She’s a Carpenter Bee.


Karen Bee in flight - close up

Carpenter Bees are solitary bees and are very docile.

Karen Bee Flies Home

This is Karen approaching the home she is building using her body and nothing more.

Karen Bee - Hovering to Enter Hole

This is Karen about to enter the hole she has been drilling using her vibrating body, her mandibles, and her little feet.

Carpenter Bee 2

This is Karen on Day 1 when she could only fit part of her head into the hole.

Karen Bee - Day 2 - 1

This is Karen on Day 3. As you can see, she can now fit her entire head and part of her yellow upper body into the hole.

Karen Bee - Hard at Work

This is a close-up of Karen busy at work. You can see the sawdust collecting on her lower body.

Karen Bee - Sawdust

Bottoms up, Karen! More sawdust but she’s not done yet…

Karen Bee - Sawdust 1

That’s a lot of sawdust and sawdust means a lot of drilling… busy bee that Karen.

Karen Bee's Perfect Hole

A view of the hole Karen has been drilling. A perfectly circular 16mm hole. Incredible.

Carpenter Bee Hole - Day 3

A close-up of Karen’s impressive work. Nice work Karen!


“Nobody around here had ever seen a lady beekeeper till her. She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, ’cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. It comes from years of loving children and husbands…

I hadn’t been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called ‘bee yard etiquette’. She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places.

Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee’s temper. Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t.

Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved….  Bees have a secret life we don’t know about.”

~ Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees