Currently viewing the category: "Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Identification of Insect Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 05:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify this scary looking creature. I saw it outside my home a couple weeks ago when the rainy season became more intense. I live on the hilly part of North Trinidad, which is an island in the Caribbean. The bug was probably one and a half inches long and 1 inch wide. I left it alone and it disappeared after a while. The area is a little bushy with a few fruit trees around. Thanks for your help.
How you want your letter signed:  Aisha Baptiste

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Aisha,
This is a harmless male Carpenter Bee.  Male Carpenter Bees are incapable of stinging.  Only the females, which are generally larger and often exhibit sexual dimorphism, are capable of stinging.  While males of many species of Carpenter Bees are often gold in color, the females are generally larger and often black in color, appearing to be a different species.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for your prompt response! I do appreciate all of this information.
Best Regards,
Aisha.

Dear Daniel,
Sorry to bother you again, but after reading the Barbados account, I just realised that we also refer to the female Carpenter bee as a black bumble bee in Trinidad (and I was stung by one as a child). This was a real eye opener. Thanks again!
Regards,
Aisha

Hi again Aisha,
Female Carpenter Bees are not aggressive, though they are capable of stinging.  We are cheered to learn our response was helpful and eye opening.

I agree they aren’t aggressive. I was about 5 or 6 years old and it actually landed on me when I was walking home from school. I began to yell and scream and another child told me to hit it with my lunch kit and that’s when I got stung on my belly.

Swatting an unknown insect that lands on one is a good way to get bitten or stung.  Creatures will defend themselves.  Though at five or six, you might not have realized this, but it is a far better method to blow an unknown creature off of one’s body, if possible.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Agressive towards honeybees
Geographic location of the bug:  Sonoma, California
Date: 06/09/2020
Time: 12:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  In my aunts garden the statchys is blooming. There are so many different pollinators, including many honeybees. This insect caught our eye. It hovers, has drone-like flight. It is visiting the flowers but it is very attentive to the competitors. It’s spends about as much time attacking honeybees as it does visiting flowers. When it attacks it seems like it bites. We see many honeybees on the ground with half of a wing, in apparent suffering- It seems they have been hurt or intoxicated
How you want your letter signed:  Mollyanne

Woolcarder Bee

Dear Mollyanne,
This is a male, non-native Woolcarder Bee, a species native to Europe but present in North America since the mid 1960s.  According to BugGuide:  “Males defend their territory very aggressively not only against other males but also against other flower visitors” which explains the behavior towards Honey Bees that you witnessed.

Woolcarder Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Pollen Thief
Geographic location of the bug:  Spartanburg SC
Date: 03/23/2020
Time: 08:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Good Morning,
Spring has sprung here in the Carolinas. I was watching the bees on a holly bush when I saw two bees, one much smaller than the other. The smaller bee got on the back of the larger bee, shook him like crazy and stole the pollen from his legs! Is this common in the bee world?
How you want your letter signed:  Mike Healy

Mating Eastern Carpenter Bees

Dear Mike,
This looks to us like a pair of mating Eastern Carpenter Bees,
Xylocopa virginica, and the male, who is on top, has a white face.  We do not think pollen thievery was on his mind.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults take nectar from many flowers, often biting into base of flower to “rob” it without pollinating (but seen to pollinate Passiflora incarnata quite effectively–pollen is deposited on thorax).”

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for the ID on my bees. Little did I know that I was interrupting an intimate moment! My son was morning the grass and the larger females were everywhere that there was a flower of any kind. Do three Carpenter bees sting? My son was terrified by then but they really didn’t seem to care about me, walking right up to them. I do remember from my childhood in CT, that there was a best of Carpenters in the garage and they would dive bomb us.
The picture that I took was that of the bees in a Holly bush. There were hundreds of them.
Thanks again for the education. I love What’s that bug!
Mike Healy

Hi Mike,
Male Carpenter Bees are incapable of stinging, and females are not aggressive and rarely sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Voluptuous Bee doing Yoga
Geographic location of the bug:  Alin, Calca, Peru
Date: 10/28/2019
Time: 02:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
During an am yoga practice this beautiful bee was sharing props with me. It appeared to love the strap! It was difficult to get a photo with out disturbing too much. The individual was shortly released.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Bumble Bee

Dear Melanie,
This is a Bumble Bee in the genus
Bombus, but we do not recognize the species.  Perhaps Cesar Crash from Brazil will recognize the species.  According to BugGuide, the preferred habitat for Bumble Bees is:  “Generally distributed but most abundant and diverse at humid, cool sites rich in flowers, such as mountain meadows.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Fuzzy Buzzy Bee
Geographic location of the bug:  23454 – Va Beach, VA
Date: 08/18/2019
Time: 05:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve noticed a new pollinator in our gardens this summer but don’t recognize the species.  I’m estimating 20-25MM in length, fairly robust, but not “chunky” like a bumble bee.  I saved one in our pool and grabbed a couple closeups of their uniquely colored eyes.  He/she flew away safely  :-]
How you want your letter signed:  W/ appreciation

Thank you for the response.  I see many similarities, however the size, shape, and coloring of the eyes do not correspond.  Head scratcher.  :-]

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hello again,
Because you wrote back, we took a look at all your images and we believe you have submitted images of two different species.  We still believe the individual on the flowers is a Bumble Bee, but the one you saved from the pool appears to be an Eastern Carpenter Bee.  Check out the similarity in the eyes with this individual posted to BugGuide of
Xylocopa virginicaMale.  As you can see from this BugGuide image, the Eastern Carpenter Bee has a dark colored abdomen, which is why we feel certain you have submitted two different species.  Since you rescued this individual, we are tagging the posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Eastern Carpenter Bee

I’m sorry for creating confusion!  …but am grateful for your extra effort :-]
Thanks guys!!
R/ M Coughlin

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Fuzzy Buzzy Bee
Geographic location of the bug:  23454 – Va Beach, VA
Date: 08/18/2019
Time: 05:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve noticed a new pollinator in our gardens this summer but don’t recognize the species.  I’m estimating 20-25MM in length, fairly robust, but not “chunky” like a bumble bee.  I saved one in our pool and grabbed a couple closeups of their uniquely colored eyes.  He/she flew away safely  :-]
How you want your letter signed:  W/ appreciation

Perplexing Bumble Bee

Based on this BugGuide image, we believe this is a Perplexing Bumble Bee, Bombus perplexus.  Additional images and information can be found on Discover Life.

Thank you for the response.  I see many similarities, however the size, shape, and coloring of the eyes do not correspond.  Head scratcher.  :-]

Ed Note:  See Eastern Carpenter Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination