Pictured above is scarlet salvia (Salvia coccinea) with a carpenter bee (Xylocopa sp.) at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. Treasure Coast Beekeepers President Michelle Petersen had wonderful mnemonics to share at the last session of the 2015 Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory – Pelican Island Audubon Society class. She shared that you could identify a carpenter bee by its “shiny hiney”. This solitary bee builds its nest cavities in tree stumps, branches of dead wood, and, sometimes, in unfinished wood of structures.
This carpenter bee and other pollinators are attracted to the red red flowers of scarlet sage. Also known as tropical sage or blood sage, this plant flowers throughout the year including through the high heat of summer. Flowering is most profuse in full sun, but this hardy plant will tolerate partial shade. It has been planted in the Audubon House landscape and is shown below in the yard of Martha Willoughby (Class of 1998).