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

Subject: Mad as a hornet
Location: San Jose, CA
March 19, 2016 4:26 pm
Five or six of these appeared in my yard and the rest of them are still doing laps but I caught one and cannot figure out what it is.
Signature: Kate

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Kate,
You would probably also get mad if someone trapped you under glass and wouldn’t let you free.  This is a harmless male Valley Carpenter Bee.  Male bees cannot sting.  The sexually dimorphic black female Valley Carpenter Bee is capable of stinging, but seldom does.

Thank you!
I let it go after about 15 minutes. Such a fascinating creature!
Kate Russell

We are glad to hear that Kate.  Though they cannot sting, male Valley Carpenter Bees seem more aggressive as they defend territory.  They are also much more wary when they fly.  Female Valley Carpenter Bees are more lumbering in their flight.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unidentified flying insect
Location: Vacaville, CA
March 25, 2016 8:45 pm
My sister found this bug in her fireplace, March, 2016, in central California. It flew around, and was about an inch long.
Signature: Betty S

Someone has ID’d it for me as a male carpenter bee.

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Betty,
We are glad to hear someone identified your male Valley Carpenter Bee.  It is possible it emerged from firewood brought indoors.  Though female Valley Carpenter Bees are capable of stinging, they seldom do.  Males are incapable of stinging.

Daniel,
Thanks for the corroboration.  Though no one said it was a Valley Carpenter Bee, just Carpenter Bee, so that’s even better.  And yes, my sister found large round holes in firewood she had setting in the living room!
Thanks, again,
Betty

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bee type please and is it dangerous?
Location: Johnannesburg
March 14, 2016 10:35 am
Hi there
We have discovered a bee hive in our chimney and found this guy in our driveway and were wondering if you have any information about him/her particularly dangerous or normal bee?
Signature: Alan, JHB

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee

Dear Alan,
We believe we have correctly identified your Carpenter Bee as
 Xylocopa caffra thanks to this image on iSpot, and iSpot images here and here look similar, however most of the images on iSpot depict yellow banded individuals like this rather than having bluish white bands on the body, and we are not certain what that means.  According to Wikipedia:  “The females are black 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. A form with orange-red bands occurs in East Africa.”  Female Carpenter Bees are capable of stinging, but they are not aggressive, and we rarely learn of a person being stung.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black Bumblebee?
Location: Peoria AZ
March 3, 2016 6:23 pm
This guy has been hanging around our house for several days. He has no friends and just seems interested in our house. He is not aggressive and has quite a loud buzz!
Signature: Susan Miller

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee

Dear Susan,
This is a solitary Carpenter Bee, and it is a female.  Female Carpenter Bees live a relatively long time because it is labor intense for them to excavate and provision a nest.

Thank you Daniel for your prompt reply.  Should we be concerned that she may try to be nesting in our home?

According to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin:  “Carpenter bees are so named because they bore into wood, forming tunnel-like nests for the rearing of the young.  Many kinds of wood are used:  although fence posts, building timbers, and telephone poles often are attacked, the effects are seldom damaging.”

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: It’s not a horsefly
Location: Palm Desert, California
February 24, 2016 11:03 pm
I found this on my porch in Palm Desert, California earlier today. I have seen hundreds of horseflies and this was much much bigger and the legs are thicker. It’s not a roach. Almost looks like a cross between a horsefly and a cockroach ! Any idea???
Signature: Aimee

Female Valley Carpenter Bee

Female Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Aimee,
This is a female Carpenter Bee in the genus
Xylocopa, most likely a Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa varipuncta.  Interestingly, another member of the genus with clearer wings and a striped abdomen, Xylocopa tabaniformis, is known as the Horsefly-like Carpenter Bee, but according to BugGuide, it is only reported from Texas.  The Valley Carpenter Bee is a species with pronounced sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females are very different in appearance.  Females are black and males are golden.  We we in the garden at dusk last night and heard a loud buzzing.  We saw our first male Valley Carpenter Bee of the year.  Males are short lived and seem to appear only in spring.  Females that need to tunnel a nest in dead wood and then provision the nest with pollen for the larvae have a much longer life span.

Thank you!!! About 15 people told me it was a horsefly and I knew it wasn’t! Yay I win! Thanks to you!! I appreciate it!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this
Location: Pacific Palisades CA 90272
November 23, 2015 3:36 pm
Not sure if it is a drone bee or not. Found it in our yard
Pacific Palisades CA
Thanks
Nancy
Ps. Doing this on my phone. Hope the first picture is of it next to the ruler. Can’t see the image it’s so small
Signature: Nancy

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for sending three images.  That gives us a choice of what to post.  We are posting the close-up of this male Valley Carpenter Bee.  The species has pronounced sexual dimorphism, and the golden males look like an entirely different species than the black female Valley Carpenter Bee.  The differences are most stunning when the sexes are viewed together, and if there is still any doubt that they are the same species, here is a mating pair of Valley Carpenter Bees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination