Currently viewing the category: "Carpenter Bee"

Subject: Large blue Hong Kong fly
Location: Discovery Bay, south plaza park, Lantau, Hong Kong
March 4, 2017 7:55 pm
I have been trying to identify a large, iridescent blue fly that I saw Saturday March 4th, in a park on Lantau, one of the islands in the Hong Kong diaspora. I have searched wikipedia and looked online but cannot identify it. This fly was much larger than most common house flies, and there were several in the vicinity. It was, at a guess, a little under 2 inches long.
Here is a photo. I’d be glad of any information you can offer.
Signature: Nufdriew

Carpenter Bee

Dear Nufdriew,
Unless they are wingless, most Flies can be identified to the correct order because they have a single pair of wings, hence the order name Diptera.  Your insect is a Carpenter Bee and it has two sets of wings.

Subject: Photographed in Barbados
Location: Barbados
February 12, 2017 5:47 pm
Hi. Just wondering what this is? Never seen anything like it before in Barbados. Thanks.
Signature: Melanie

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Melanie,
This is a male Carpenter Bee.  Female Carpenter Bees often look like completely different species as they are even larger, and black with bluish-black wings.  Only identified to the genus level Xylocopa,  though erroneously called Bumble Bees on the Barbados Pocket Guide, this description is provided:  “These early morning foragers are commonly known as carpenter bees because of the way in which they build their nests. A process that involves burrowing holes in dead trees, branches, stumps and/or old timber. They use their broad, strong mandibles (jaws) to chew into their chosen future homes. Inside, they form pollen/nectar loaves upon which they lay their giant eggs. The female mixes her saliva with sawdust to form strong partitions between each egg cell.”  Images of both a female and male
Xylocopa mordax are pictured on the Bees of Greater Puerto Rico, and we speculate that might also be your species.

Thank you! Normally the bees commonly seen there are black bumble bees or the honey bee. No one had actually seen this one before. I appreciate your prompt response.
M. Bannister

Hello again Melanie,
We suspect that what you are calling a black bumble bee is actually the female Carpenter Bee.  The golden colored males are not a long lived, which is probably why they are not seen as often.  Here is an image of a pair of mating Carpenter Bees from our archives.

Thanks! I meant to put bumble bee in quotation marks…as that is what it is usually called there. 🙂
The female bee is the one usually seen on the island.
Thanks again! So great to have it properly identified.
M. Bannister
*Being true to yourself is better than being a liar just to impress everyone*

Subject: Black bee?
Location: Ko Kood, Thailand
January 29, 2017 1:30 am
Hi, once again have recently returned from Thailand – this was also found on Koh Kood. It looks like a massive bee – is this the case? Apologies for the poor quality. The photo was taken this month.
Signature: Phil

Carpenter Bee

Dear Phil,
This looks to us like a Carpenter Bee and it also looks very similar to another image we posted from Thailand last week, though Clive who submitted that image disagrees with our identification.

Subject: Large black ??
Location: San Diego CA, coastal
January 27, 2017 4:18 pm
Hi, What do I have crawling in my succulent outdoors? I splashed water and accidentally knocked back this huuge bee-like creature. Now it is moving as if blind, slowly reaching out to feel for something to move to (although maybe it also did that before I saw it). It is nearly 1.5 inches long, 6 black fuzzy legs, everything black except iridescent wings with magenta color. So big. Struggling–it is late January. My pics aren’t showing the full length.
Signature: Bug Watcher of My Yard

Female Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Bug Watcher,
This is a female Valley Carpenter Bee, a species that nests in dead branches, telephone poles and other places where a gallery can be burrowed into wood.  They sometimes nest in exposed house beams.  Valley Carpenter Bees exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism, and the males are golden and look like a different species, an observation that is really evident when they are mating.

THANK YOU so much for this information AND the work you do!

Subject: Insect identification
Location: Kanchanaburi province Thailand
January 18, 2017 3:14 am
Can you please try and identify this insect from a photo I took. Location – Kanchanaburi province Thailand. Season – January. IIt was a flying insect, body length approx 50 mm. Black and furry looking. Many thanks, Clive.
Signature: Clive Ambrose

Carpenter Bee

Dear Clive,
Based on this image from Borneo in our archives, we are very confident this is a Carpenter Bee.

Thank you for your quick response, however I think you may have misidentified, as the carpenter bee does not have a furry body and legs, or fox-like ears, as is shown in the photograph.
Many thanks, Clive

Subject: Yellow bug
Location: South Africa
January 6, 2017 5:10 am
Please help identify this creature.
Signature: Rachel Klass

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Rachel,
This is a male Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa caffra.  We found the first similar looking image on Wildlife Den, and on Africa Wild we learned:  “Large (body length 20-24 mm), stout.  The females are black and hairy with two white or yellow bands over the hind thorax and first abdominal segment respectively, while the males are uniform greenish yellow in colour. Females with white bands are associated with dry climatic conditions during larval development, but females of either colour, or colour grade, may emerge from the same brood. In the Western Cape all have yellow bands however. ”  ISpot has many images of female Carpenter Bees, but there are very few images of male Carpenter Bees on iSpot.  We do have an image of a female South African Carpenter Bee in our archives.

Hi Daniel
Thank you so much fot your help.  Much appreciated!
Rachel Klass