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

Grizzly Bee?
This thing has been flying around a dedicated area of a guava tree outside my window all day without taking a rest. It has to be 2 inches long… What is it? I live in San Diego, CA.

Hi TN,
This is one of our favorite harbingers of spring in Southern California, the male Valley Carpenter Bee. The golden male bees with green eyes fly for a short period of time in the spring and they have a rapid aggressive flight. The black female bees look like a different species. they have a more plodding flight and they are longer lived.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

can you please identify this bug?
We found this bug in our garden near the beach in southern California. Would you be able to identify it for us? Thanks for your help!

Hi Lindsey,
What a wonderful “up close and personal” image of a Male Valley Carpenter Bee you have sent our way. Female Valley Carptenter Bees are a rich black color.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Another bug to identify. Sorry. But its super weird!
I was in Acapulco in mid-November. There were a bunch of these guys flying around our house. They are fairly large, about 1.5 inches long. They make a loud noise when they fly around. There were a couple of dark colored ones and this copper colored one. They hung out in the palm tree thatch on the roof of the patio. I asked the houseman about them and he said that they nest or eat the thatch. He also said that they were called ‘abehoron'(sp?) if that helps.

Hi Brian,
This is a male Carpenter Bee, possibly the Valley Carpenter Bee. Female Valley Carpenter Bees are the dark insects. The female builds a nest by tunneling into wood. She then provisions the nest with pollen and nectar and lays eggs. The adults feed on pollen and nectar. There was probably a nest in the wood supporting the thatch.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What Is this
Hi Mr. Bugman,
Could you help me identify this critter? It is as large as the biggest woodcutter bee, but never seems to behave like a bee. We see it annually in the spring in San Jose California. It only appears in the afternoons once the temperature hits 70 degrees F, or more (never less). It takes up a station in a spindly bush where it charts out an erratic course and constantly flies in, and through, the bush. I have never seen one land, it just flies constantly, making picture taking a challenge. I have never seen it engage in any feeding behavior, sipping nectar from flowers, munching on leaves or even chasing or catching other insects. Seems to have no stinger or proboscis. The wings are clear. There are several that have appeared this year, but each stakes out a plant and flies sentry duty around it, chasing other examples away. They seem partial to blueberry bushes and plants in that family, though this one was seen near a dwarf apple tree. They never appear when the plant is fruiting, however. I took this picture about a month ago, and this seems about the end of the season for spotting them. I can not detect any coloration on the clear wings, but they do appear to be veined. Can you help with the identification? Thanks,
Bill Knickel

Hi Bill,
This is a male Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa varipuncta. The female is a robust black bee and the much shorter lived male is this lovely golden color.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Carpenter Bees
I bet you guys have fun on your sight. I thought you might like the attached photo of a male and female carpenter bee from El Paso, TX. The differing colors are great. I believe them to be a Xylocopa species. According to John L. Neff of the Central Texas Melittological Institute in Austin, it is either X. varipuncta (your Valley Carpenter Bee) or more likely, X. mexicanorum, given distribution records. The picture was taken on Feb 19, 2005, which is a bit early for them to be out and about (they usually show up, based on my recollection, about April and May). They were rather lethargic for quite some time despite that it was not cold (upper 70s that day). The tree is a “Mexican Elder”, my wife tells me a Sambucus mexicana, though she is not sure. The site is: El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, 2 miles n. of downtown.
Glenn Davis

Hi Glenn,
Thank you so much for sending in the gorgeous photo.

Ed. Note: When this image arrived last spring, we fell in love with it. We are always cheered by the presence of these large lumbering black female Valley Carpenter Bees in our garden each spring. They frequent the sweet peas and the honeysuckle. The female bees remain in the garden most of the summer. One year a bee nested in our carob tree and another year we found a nest in a sumac. The female bee labors many hours creating a tunnel. she fills the end of the tunnel with pollen and nectar and lays an egg, sealing the chamber with wood pulp. She will create about five or six chambers, each housing a single egg, within the tunnel. The adults emerge in about 45 days. Adult female bees will overwinter and create a new nest in the spring. The golden male bees are very short lived and have a very different, more nervous flight pattern. We are eagerly awaiting the appearance of the first male bees in our garden this spring. Male bees are attracted to our lantana and digitalis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

golden bumble bee??
I took pictures of this guy today, he is as big as a bumble bee, but golden with green eyes! He sure loved all the pollen! Can you tell me what type of bee he is? Thanks,
Madera California

Hi Amber,
This is our featured Bug of the Month, the Valley Carpenter Bee. The male bee is golden like your example, and the female bee is black. We have not seen any male bees in our yard yet this year, but the females are very busy gathering pollen from our sweet peas and honeysuckle. We photographed a female bee today and will be posting that image after we answer some of our readers’ questions.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination