Female Carpenter Bee

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!

3 thoughts on “Female Carpenter Bee”

  1. Bees are such wonderful creatures, whether solitary or communal. When our sons were youngsters we taught them to gently remove bumble bees from the house and place them in the garden. And the eldest spent part of summer days up on the bee hive cache (bear country) watching the workers come and go. Similar treatment for spiders (none venomous where we lived). Curiosity begins very early, aversion generally reflects the example we set.

  2. I believe I killed one of these in my kitchen sink a few weeks ago do I need to be concerned? First and only one I’ve ever seen.


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