Male Carpenter Bee from Hawaii

Subject: is it a bee?
Location: Oahu (Hawaii)
April 14, 2015 11:58 am
I live in Hawaii. I often see black carpenter bees around my lavender plants. Lately, I’ve seen a bright honey colored bee? that is on flowers on the fence. It is huge, and very aggressive. It flys very fast. Is he dangerous?
Signature: jean

Male Carpenter Bee
Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Jean,
Often female Carpenter Bees like you describe are very long lived, as they have to excavate tunnels in wood to serve as a nest for the young, and the nests need to be provisioned with pollen.  Many Carpenter Bees exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism, with males looking like entirely different species, as is the case with the Valley Carpenter Bee.  Male Valley Carpenter Bees are bright golden yellow, and they are very territorial, hence the aggressive behavior you observed, but since they lack stingers, they are perfectly harmless.  The much less aggressive females are capable of stinging, but we have never heard of a person being stung by a Carpenter Bee.  Male Carpenter Bees do not live as long as females, so you have probably never noticed them before.  The Sonoran Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa sonorina, has been introduced to Hawaii, and males are golden in color

Leave a Comment