The above image is the female Carpenter Bee, and how I know this is she has a dark shiny face, whereas the male has a white mark on his face. You will see this in the following images. She is clinging to the bottom of a Monarda leaf, a favorite feeding flower of the bees. The reason she is clinging is that she has been relentlessly pursued and is attempting to hide, unsuccessfully I might add.
Here comes a male now. He was hovering around her for many minutes. The males are stingerless by the way in case you were wondering why I am so close.
She really had no choice in this, even though she possesses a stinger. I believe she was worn out from a previous go of this.
Off he goes a little messier than when he flew in, but quite happy I am sure.
Here she is looking pretty worn out with tail tucked. And what shows up to comfort her? A helpful fly. Actually, I really do not know what the fly was up too.
I have no clue why the fly is interested, but you will see him in the next few images.
Now the battle for the lady bee. While they duke it out in the boxwood below, I remove the leaves. She was having a hard time hanging on to her leaf so I made it a little easier. I know, I know, bad to interfere in nature, but she was struggling and needed a rest.
The battle ensues. Poor loser.
Here we go again. See the fly is still there during the action?
She pleads for protection and the wasp helps out.
In defeat, he flies off with the wasp in pursuit.
Leaving her open for yet another male, but she flies off in the upper right. But the deed gets repeated for a third time with Mr. Bee number three.
And I found no indication that they do this repeatedly. In fact one site said Carpenter bees only travel in pairs. This certainly was not the case as I saw this female mounted by three different bees.
But a really odd thing I read was that the males will try to mate with other insects and even small birds. Now that was a weird thing to learn. Carpenter Bees are not all exactly solitary either. That was new to me. If you bee people have anything to add, please do. I could find very little information on this bee besides what everybody already knows regarding them burrowing into your soffit to make a nursery.