Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Carpenter Bees, Mud Dauber, Olive Trees, and Cold Hardy Citrus

Carpenter bee.

A carpenter bee. Photo: Ashleigh Midkiff, LSU AgCenter

Carpenter Bees

Delma brought in some bees to identify, and she says they are killing other bees when they are loaded with pollen. Delma brought in a carpenter bee (CB) because it has a “shiny hiney” while bumblebees have “fuzzy butts.” Male CBs are very territorial when there is brood to protect. Fortunately, the male CBs lack stingers. However, the females can sting, but only when severely provoked. Males have a white or yellow patch on their faces while the females have solid black faces.

Mud nest.

A mud dauber nest. Photo: Cathy Campbell.

Mud Dauber

Mud dauber.

Cathy sent an image of a mud nest for identification. This nest looked different that the regularly mud dauber nest, and she wanted to avoid disturbing the nest because it may host a brood of beneficial insects. Cathy added that she observed a black wasp with a thin waist in the area. Dr. James Villegas helped with the ID of this insect, “The descriptions do match a black-waisted mud dauber. They keep spider populations in check.”

Black thin-waisted wasp.
Photo: Texas Apiary Inspection Service.

Olive fruit tree.

Olive fruit and leaves. Photo: Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard, LSU AgCenter

Olive Trees

Nora asked how well olives grow in Louisiana. Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard, an AgCenter horticulturist wrote about growing olives in Louisiana, “Three olive trees are on the main campus of LSU behind Wilson Hall. Horticulture instructor Bob Mirabello planted these trees at the LSU Hill Farm in 2008. They were relocated to Wilson Hall nearly seven years ago. Despite being moved, they have thrived and have never suffered any cold damage. Today, the trees are full of fruit and offer a gorgeous display.” Dr. Kirk-Ballard adds, “The LSU AgCenter has conducted some olive research at the Hammond Research Station, which dedicated an acre of production to nearly 100 trees of 15 different varieties for evaluation. The top-performing varieties are Anglandau, Arbequina, Bouteillan and Picual.”

Satsuma tree.

Arctic Frost satsuma Photo: Texas Superstar Plants website.

Cold Hardy Citrus

Isabel called AHA and asked if the ‘Arctic Frost’ satsuma has thorns. AHA researched this cultivar, and it is a Texas Superstar® plant. The reason this fruit tree is special is because “The fruit is sweet and tart, easy to peel and only has one or two seeds per fruit. ‘Arctic Frost’ is the cold hardiest of the…hybrids tested to date.”AHA also contacted Mr. David Rodriguez, Extension Agent with the Texas Agrilife Extension, and he shared this note about this variety of citrus, “The original plants that were first pushed out on our local San Antonio market some twelve years ago were all on their own root stock from rooted cuttings and had that aggressive tendency of having juvenile thorns. Unfortunately, many of the plants that went into field/research/home garden production and bared fruit never outgrew that thorny tendency.

When Saxon Becknell and Sons, a fruit nursery, [exclusively]took the [breeding] over, they “cleaned up” the thorny issue and grafted them all as they do all their other citrus trees.” Based on this reply, the ‘Arctic Frost’ satsuma should be thornless.

If the tree was grafted and the top got compromised from drought, freeze or other, it might be shoots emerging from the root stock.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits, and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or .

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

11/8/2023 4:11:04 PM
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