A blue bumble bee.
February 12, 2010
Is there such a type of bee?

Blue Carpenter Bee

Dear kF TUNG,
This is a gorgeous bee.  We will try to identify it properly, but until then, we want to post it and see if our readers have any luck with identification.

Hello Mr.Marlos,
Perhaps a few more photos of the blue bee to help you and your readers to better identify it.

Blue Carpenter Bee:  Xylocopa caerulea

Thanks KFTung,
We are thrilled to post the additional images of this gorgeous blue bee, but we doubt they will assist us in the identification.  We spent a goodly amount of time searching the web in vain, and we are going to have to depend on assistance from our readers.  Your photos are great.  The only images of a Blue Bee we found were not your species, nor were they anywhere near as gorgeous as your insect.

So sorry I’m falling behind in keeping up with the posts….
The blue bee from Malaysia is a carpenter bee, Xylocopa caerulea.  Magnificent images of a gorgeous insect!

Thanks Eric,
Armed with a name, we were able to locate a website that says:  “Carpenter bee
A large bee, reaching slightly more than 23mm. Female is mainly black. The thorax is covered with light blue hairs, making it almost fully blue except for a small black patch in the centre. The first abdominal segment and sides of the abdomen are also lined with similar but finer and more sparse blue hairs. I am not srre of what the male looks like, although he is supposed to be similar but lighter in body colour with long blue hairs on part of his head!
This species is apparently quite widely distributed across Southeast Asia, as well as India and parts of China (Yunnan, Guangxi, Hainan).
This beautiful and distinctive carpenter bee is apparently found in Singapore; I have sighted it in MacRitchie Reservoir once, but was unable to catch it since I was inside the nature trail, where capturing anything is explicitly forbidden. I have also not been able to photograph it; it has been photographed a couple of times by local photographers. Having only seen it once and only for a few seconds, I hope to be able to learn more about its behaviour and nest sites in future, and to also photograph it.”

Location: Malaysia

8 Responses to Blue Carpenter Bee from Malaysia: Xylocopa caerulea

  1. lukelightning says:

    I am interested to find out what this bee is; when I was in vacation in Malaysia I saw them and they were quite striking and exotic… who would have thought there were “bright blue bumble bees”!

  2. kkroeker says:

    Thanks for that Eric. I was really hoping someone would provide an identification for this magnificent bee. It’s surprising how few online photos there are for such a beautiful and widespread insect species. With the name you provided I was able to find one other photo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mhanif/2954380092/) that shows a good side view. K

  3. Julio Harahap says:

    Greetings. I sighted a similar Blue Carpenter Bee: Xylocopa caerulea, about 6 years ago in Malaysia. It landed on a Lily flower as i was about to click and managed to get a few shots of it . That was the first and the last i saw of it even after going to the same location and area for a few more times.
    Link for image: https://www.whatsthatbug.com/2010/02/12/unknown-blue-bee-from-malaysia/

  4. Ninja says:

    I saw it today though I’m not so really sure what type it was.. It does looks like the one on the picture you posted, but it doesn’t really have that bright blue color. It’s more dark bluish. It was collecting nectar alongside with yellow bumble bees.. It was amazing as I never had seen such a beautiful thing in my life before.. Sadly I wasn’t able to take a picture

  5. kathy.shivel@gmail.com says:

    Anywhere I can send a picture for id? Hawaii, tiny iridescent winged insect

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