Carpenter Bee from Portugal

Subject: Unindentified Wasp (?)
Location: Monte de Caparica, Almada, Portugal, Europe
October 6, 2013 5:02 pm
I’ve been struggling to identify this bug that me and my family found inside perfectly circular tunnels ”digged” in the branches of a tree (jacaranda tree) when we were cutting some old ones. This happenened in Portugal.
We caught one of the ”wasps”, but they we’re something like 20 in total, spread through different branches.
The photos aren’t the best, but I found a person asking for the identification of the same animal with a great photo, only from Victoria, Australia (!). This photo from Australia is identified in the file name.
I’ve been told the wasps couldn’t ”dig” those tunnels, and that’s it, because no one knows wich wasp is it.
Hope this is not much of a challenge to you, but if it is, I hope you have fun with it!
Thank you so much!
Signature: Mariana

Carpenter Bee
Carpenter Bee

Dear Mariana,
The photo you attached from Australia is a Scoliid Wasp, but you have Carpenter Bees.  The Life in Galicia blog has a charming, though very unscientific account.  We then found this article form The Independent, a UK site, that indicates England has been invaded by a mainland species of Carpenter Bee, 
Xylocopa violaceaTrekNature has a lovely photo of Xylocopa violaceaWe cannot say for certain that is your species, but we are confident you have Carpenter Bees.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much! For both (!) identifications and the sources for more information.
I guess I would never get it right since I was looking for wasps instead of bees 😉
Keep up the great work!
I now can tell my family the bugs didn’t kill the branches, they were dead to start with, that they’re as innofensive as they seem dangerous and that we should think twice if we have any untreated wood laying around in the garden we don’t want them to start nesting in.
Have a nice week!
Thank you!

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