Where Do Carpenter Bees Go at Night? Uncovering Their Secret Hideouts

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Carpenter bees are fascinating creatures that often have people wondering about their nighttime habits. Like most bees, carpenter bees do have a specific place they go to at night, but their behavior is slightly different from other bee species.

These bees are solitary insects, which means they don’t have a shared hive or colony like many other types of bees. Instead, carpenter bees create their own individual nests in wood by drilling tunnels, where they lay their eggs and protect their offspring. It is in these tunnels that carpenter bees find refuge at night.

During the night, carpenter bees will typically stay inside their nest, resting and conserving energy for their daytime activities. Since they are not as social as other bee species, they don’t venture out to forage or interact with other bees after the sun goes down. This is a time for them to recuperate and prepare for another day spent collecting nectar and pollen from flowers.

Understanding Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are quite different from other bees like bumblebees and honey bees. They are solitary bees, meaning they don’t live in colonies. Carpenter bees don’t build their nests in hives like honey bees or in the ground like bumblebees; instead, they create tunnels in dead wood or in the softer parts of wooden structures.

Male and female carpenter bees have distinct appearances. While both sexes share the common traits of being approximately 0.75-1 inch long and having a yellow and black thorax, their abdomens and faces are different. Female carpenter bees have a black face and a dense brush of black hairs on their hind legs, while males have yellow faces.

As the day ends, carpenter bees return to their tunnels to rest. Male carpenter bees, being territorial, keep watch near the entrance of the tunnel to ward off potential threats. Meanwhile, female carpenter bees protect their eggs and larvae inside the nests.

Feature Carpenter Bees Bumblebees Honey Bees
Sociality Solitary Social (some species) Highly social
Nest location In wood Underground Hives
Size 0.75-1 inch 0.3-1 inch 0.4-0.6 inch
Primary functions Pollination Pollination Pollination & honey

Here are some other interesting characteristics of carpenter bees:

  • Carpenter bees don’t eat wood; they use it to build their nests
  • They are important pollinators for many plants
  • Female carpenter bees are capable of stinging, but only when they feel threatened

As you learn more about carpenter bees, remember their unique features when comparing them to other bee species, such as bumblebees and honey bees. With this knowledge, you’ll know what to expect from these fascinating creatures, be it day or night.

Carpenter Bees’ Diurnal Habits

Carpenter bees, like most other bees, are diurnal creatures. This means they are active during the day and typically rest at night. During the day, you’ll often find them foraging for pollen and nectar from flowers.

Their circadian rhythm, which is an internal biological clock, helps them maintain this daily routine. However, unlike honeybees, carpenter bees are solitary insects and do not live in large colonies.

When it comes to foraging, carpenter bees are attracted to various brightly colored flowers. As they collect pollen and nectar, they also play a vital role in plant pollination. Some of their preferred flowers include:

  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Mountain laurels

At night, carpenter bees return to their nests, which they create by tunneling into wood. The adult females usually remain in the nest, while the males can often be seen patrolling the area around the nest to protect it.

In summary, carpenter bees exhibit a clear pattern of diurnal activity with foraging during the day and resting in their nests at night. This daily behavior is influenced by their innate circadian rhythm, helping them efficiently gather food and maintain their solitary lifestyle.

Where Carpenter Bees Go at Night

Carpenter bees are fascinating creatures, and their nighttime habits may be intriguing to you. At night, these bees seek shelter to protect themselves from predators and unfavorable weather conditions.

During the evening, carpenter bees tend to retreat to the safety of their nests. Their nests are usually burrowed into wood, such as tree trunks or wooden structures. This provides them with a secure and hidden spot to rest. You might find it interesting to know that carpenter bees are solitary insects, meaning each bee has its own nest, unlike social bees like honeybees.

When it comes to the sleep cycle of carpenter bees, they don’t exactly sleep like humans do. Instead, they enter a state of torpor, which is a decreased physiological activity that helps conserve energy. It’s important for them to maintain their energy levels for foraging and nest-building activities.

In colder months, carpenter bees may hibernate to survive freezing temperatures. During hibernation, their metabolism slows down, conserving energy until the weather becomes warmer. This enables them to remain dormant for extended periods of time.

Here are some key characteristics of carpenter bees at night:

  • They retreat to their nests for protection.
  • Their nests are often found in wooden structures or tree trunks.
  • They enter a state of torpor to conserve energy.
  • Hibernate during colder months to survive freezing temperatures.

Carpenter Bees and Human Interaction

When interacting with carpenter bees, you might wonder if they’re aggressive or territorial. Rest assured, these bees are usually harmless. However, there are some key elements to keep in mind when encountering carpenter bees near your home.

Carpenter bees are generally not aggressive, but they can become defensive when provoked. For example, if you accidentally disturb their nesting area, you might notice the bee buzzing around you. But fear not, as they’re more interested in protecting their nest than causing harm. The good news is that, unlike some other types of bees, carpenter bees are not known to be territorial.

Regarding their stinging capabilities, there’s a difference between males and females. Male carpenter bees cannot sting, but they do have a tendency to hover and investigate anything near their nest. While this may seem intimidating, remember they pose no threat. Female carpenter bees can sting, but they generally do so only when provoked or under immense pressure.

Although carpenter bees play a significant role as pollinators, they can cause structural damage to wood structures by drilling tunnels to create their nest. It’s essential to monitor your home and address any possible carpenter bee activity to prevent extensive damage.

In summary, carpenter bees are mostly harmless creatures that help our ecosystem by pollinating various plants. As long as you maintain a respectful distance and avoid provoking them, your interaction with these fascinating insects should remain uneventful.

The Nesting and Reproduction Habits

Carpenter bees are unique in their nesting habits. Unlike other bees, they don’t create hives, but rather tunnel into wood to lay their eggs. This helps protect their offspring and ensures their survival.

During the mating season, male carpenter bees become territorial and guard their chosen nest site. Once a female selects a suitable site, she starts to excavate her tunnel. These tunnels are usually around ½ inch in diameter and can be several inches to a few feet in length. There, she lays eggs and supplies them with food made up of pollen and nectar.

The eggs hatch into larvae, which develop within their individual chambers. After pupating, the new generation of adult carpenter bees emerges, ready to mate and continue the cycle. In temperate regions, carpenter bees generally have one generation per year.

During colder months, carpenter bees overwinter in their tunnels, remaining safe from the elements and predators. They’ll remain relatively inactive until warmer temperatures return, signaling the beginning of another reproductive cycle.

By understanding the nesting and reproduction habits of carpenter bees, you can appreciate their unique place in the ecosystem and their role as essential pollinators.

Carpenter Bees and Wood Structures

Carpenter bees are known for inflicting damage to various wooden structures, including wood surfaces, decks, and siding. During the day, they busily drill and create burrows into these structures. But at night, they become less active.

Their burrows provide a safe haven for them to rest and lay eggs. Carpenter bees are not completely nocturnal, but they tend to remain in their tunnels at night. While resting, these bees still cause structural damage due to their tunneling activities.

As they keep entering and leaving these burrows, carpenter bees contribute to an increasing level of structural damage, especially on wooden surfaces. Some signs of carpenter bee damage include:

  • Perfectly circular holes drilled into wood surfaces
  • Sawdust piles below these holes
  • Fan-shaped stains on the sides of a structure

It’s essential to monitor and control carpenter bee infestations to protect your property. Keep an eye on wooden structures and look for potential damage before it escalates. Prompt action can help save time and resources in maintaining your wood structures.

Preventing and Handling Infestations

Carpenter bees can become a nuisance when they infest your home. To prevent an infestation, regularly paint or varnish exposed wood surfaces, as it can help reduce their attraction to your property. Fill depressions and cracks in wood surfaces, making them less appealing for carpenter bees source.

If you already have a carpenter bee infestation, consider using pest control products containing carbaryl, cyfluthrin, or resmethrin. By spraying these chemicals into the entrance holes of their tunnels, you can effectively kill adult and young bees. After 24 to 36 hours, seal the treated holes with caulk to prevent further infestation source.

When dealing with an infestation, it might be best to consult professionals. Nearby pest control services can assess the situation and provide you with appropriate treatment and management options. Using a carpenter bee control article can also help you understand the extent of the infestation and how to get rid of carpenter bees effectively.

In summary:

  • Prevent infestations by maintaining wood surfaces and sealing cracks
  • Use pest control products for existing infestations
  • Consult professionals or read carpenter bee control articles for guidance

Remember, always use a friendly approach when dealing with infestations, as carpenter bees are important pollinators and should be handled with care. Happy bee management!

Methods of Control

Controlling carpenter bees can be achieved through various methods, which include applying insecticides and using physical barriers.

One effective method is using insecticides. You may consider applying a spray insecticide directly to the bees’ nest entrances. Here are some commonly used insecticides:

  • Boric acid
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Liquid insecticides

To apply insecticides safely, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective clothing. Remember that insecticides can be harmful to humans and non-target animals.

In addition to insecticides, you can also use physical barriers to control carpenter bees. For instance, you may choose to seal their nesting holes with caulk or putty. This method effectively blocks access to the nests, preventing the bees from expanding their colonies.

Another option is to coat wooden surfaces with substances like vinegar or WD40. These substances may deter carpenter bees from landing on and boring into your wood structures.

To sum up:

  • Apply insecticides, such as boric acid or diatomaceous earth
  • Seal nest entrances with caulk or putty
  • Apply vinegar or WD40 to wood surfaces

By employing these control methods, you can effectively manage carpenter bees and protect your property from damages caused by their nesting habits.

Alternative Ways to Deal with Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are known for their wood-boring habits, but they are also beneficial pollinators. To deal with them without causing harm, consider alternative methods. In this section, you’ll find a few suggestions.

Carpenter bee traps are a popular choice. They work by luring bees into a small hole, then trapping them in a container. You can find these traps at your local hardware store or make your own.

Protecting your outdoor wooden structures is crucial. Carpenter bees prefer softwoods like pine and cedar. Painting these surfaces can deter them since they prefer untreated wood. Furthermore, regularly inspect your structures for signs of damage and repair holes as needed.

If you have a garden, attract other beneficial insects to maintain a balanced ecosystem. These insects help with pollination and protection from predators, keeping carpenter bee populations in check.

When dealing with carpenter bees, consider wearing protective clothing. A bee suit, gloves, and a veil provide a barrier between you and any agitated bees. Remember, they are generally not aggressive, but it’s better to be safe.

In brief,

  • Use carpenter bee traps to catch them without causing harm
  • Paint outdoor wooden structures to deter carpenter bees
  • Encourage beneficial insects in your garden to maintain balance
  • Wear protective clothing if necessary

By employing these alternative methods, you can coexist with these beneficial pollinators without harming them or your property.

Conclusion

Carpenter bees, like other bees, play a significant role in pollination, particularly for vegetables and flowers. As the evening approaches and night falls, you may wonder where they go. Understanding their behavior and life cycle can help you coexist with these fascinating creatures.

During the night, carpenter bees rest in the very nests they’ve created. They prefer to tunnel into wood to lay their eggs, but don’t eat the wood; they actually feed on flower nectar and pollen 2. The sawdust and waste you might find under these nesting areas usually indicate their presence. Additionally, molds can also appear in these areas due to moisture accumulation.

In order to maintain a healthy environment for carpenter bees and avoid attracting unwanted pests, it’s essential to:

  • Regularly clean up sawdust and waste.
  • Control moisture in the area by ensuring proper ventilation and sealing water leaks.

While carpenter bees are vital pollinators, they can sometimes be unwanted houseguests, as their nesting habits can cause structural damage. To effectively control their presence around your home, consider:

  • Painting or sealing exposed wood surfaces.
  • Using physical barriers like wire mesh.

Ultimately, finding a balance between supporting these essential pollinators and preserving the integrity of your home is key. By understanding the life cycle and habits of adult carpenter bees, you’ll be better equipped to coexist with them while protecting your property.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Male Carpenter Bee from Trinidad & Tobago

 

Subject:  Identification of Insect Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 05:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify this scary looking creature. I saw it outside my home a couple weeks ago when the rainy season became more intense. I live on the hilly part of North Trinidad, which is an island in the Caribbean. The bug was probably one and a half inches long and 1 inch wide. I left it alone and it disappeared after a while. The area is a little bushy with a few fruit trees around. Thanks for your help.
How you want your letter signed:  Aisha Baptiste

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Aisha,
This is a harmless male Carpenter Bee.  Male Carpenter Bees are incapable of stinging.  Only the females, which are generally larger and often exhibit sexual dimorphism, are capable of stinging.  While males of many species of Carpenter Bees are often gold in color, the females are generally larger and often black in color, appearing to be a different species.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for your prompt response! I do appreciate all of this information.
Best Regards,
Aisha.

Dear Daniel,
Sorry to bother you again, but after reading the Barbados account, I just realised that we also refer to the female Carpenter bee as a black bumble bee in Trinidad (and I was stung by one as a child). This was a real eye opener. Thanks again!
Regards,
Aisha

Hi again Aisha,
Female Carpenter Bees are not aggressive, though they are capable of stinging.  We are cheered to learn our response was helpful and eye opening.

I agree they aren’t aggressive. I was about 5 or 6 years old and it actually landed on me when I was walking home from school. I began to yell and scream and another child told me to hit it with my lunch kit and that’s when I got stung on my belly.

Swatting an unknown insect that lands on one is a good way to get bitten or stung.  Creatures will defend themselves.  Though at five or six, you might not have realized this, but it is a far better method to blow an unknown creature off of one’s body, if possible.

Letter 2 – Male Carpenter Bees

 

what kind of bee is this?
I live in San Jose. These are the biggest bees i have ever seen.
jay

Hi Jay,
Male Valley Carpenter Bees are golden while females are blue-black. Males are short lived and fly in the spring.

Letter 3 – Male Eastern Carpenter Bee

 

Male Carpenter Bee
Hey guys, thanks again for the website. I concur with everyone who says they love it. Here are some pics of a Male Carpenter Bee, as you can see the white patch on his face. These were taken back in April of ’06. I was able to get SUPER close to him. The reason for this is that he wouldn’t move; it’s like he was hibernating. Would you know what reasons there might be for him not moving? Asleep? It was also early in the morning(7:30) and was pretty cold. He was not far from his nest as my apartment has wooden stairs and the bee’s nest was in those stairs. Thanks for any help you can give.
Adam S.
Olathe, KS 38°52′51″N, 94°48′11″W

Male Eastern Carpenter Bee
Male Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hi Adam,
We had been meaning to respond and post your letter sooner, but the duties of posting got away from us this past weekend. Your photo of a male Eastern Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa virginica, is a welcome addition to our archives. According to BugGuide: “Large, black hairless abdomen, yellow pile on thorax. Males have yellow/white face. Common in eastern North America, and the only member of its genus in much of range.” The sluggish behavior you describe is probably a result of the cool morning since bees need warmth to become active. Also, it he was newly metamorphosed, he might have never attempted flight. Warmth is a consideration either way.

Letter 4 – Male Eastern Carpenter Bee

 

What type of Bee is this?
March 31, 2010
I have searched all morning trying to figure out what type of bee this is, but no luck yet. Everything points to a Carpenter Bee, but I don’t think it is. They are swarming our patio, we live on the 4th floor of a Condo. All have the yellow marking.
Thanks, Mary
Hilton Head Island,South Carolina

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hi Mary,
This is an Eastern Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa virginica, and according to BugGuide:  “Large, black hairless abdomen, yellow pile on thorax. Males have yellow/white face. Common in eastern North America, and the only member of its genus in much of range.
The light face on your individual makes it a male.

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Letter 5 – Male Eastern Carpenter Bee mounted by male Mining Bee

 

Subject: Hitchhiking Bee?
Location: Andover, NJ
April 22, 2014 5:38 am
I am hoping that you might be able to shed some light on this very peculiar behavior. I was photographing bees in our yard yesterday (our cherry trees just started blooming) and was excited to see my first carpenter bee of the season – then I realized that he had a passenger. The second bee was hanging tight to the carpenter’s back. The carpenter traveled around to some daffodils, seemingly not bothered by the passenger. Then, a third bee (and third species from what I could tell) flew in and appeared to attack the first bee. All three bees separated and flew off. The carpenter didn’t appear to be injured.
I’ve never seen anything like this and really hope that you might be able to tell me what it all meant.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Eastern Carpenter Bee carrying passenger Bee
Eastern Carpenter Bee carrying passenger Bee

Hi Deborah,
We must confess that we are uncertain what is going on in your images, which are quite detailed.  The Eastern Carpenter Bee is a male as evidenced by his light face.  We will send your images to Eric Eaton to see if he can identify the hitchhiking bee and to see if he has any idea what this behavior indicates.

Thanks, Daniel.  I am completely baffled by the behavior and the only plausible explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that perhaps the smaller bee was after pollen?  Hope Eric can shed some light on it.
By the way, I just got your book and am really enjoying it!
Debbi

Male Eastern Carpenter Bee carries passenger Bee
Male Eastern Carpenter Bee carries passenger Bee

Eric Eaton provides an identification and a hypothesis!!!
Daniel:
Looks like a male Andrena mining bee, perhaps trying to chase the male carpenter bee out of its territory?  That’s the only explanation I can think of.
Eric

Unknown Bee riding on male Eastern Carpenter Bee
Unknown Bee riding on male Eastern Carpenter Bee

 

Letter 6 – Male Carpenter Bee from South Africa

 

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!
Regards
Rachel Klass

Letter 7 – Male Carpenter Bee from South Africa

 

Subject:  Odd discovery in SOUth Africa- What bee is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Coastline of SOuth Africa – Eastern Cape
Date: 09/22/2021
Time: 06:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman – my mother found this bee in Mbotyi – the Eastern Cape town in South AFrica. It looks like a Valley Carpenter bee which is highly unlikely – can you assist?
How you want your letter signed:  Jason M

Male Carpenter Bee: Xyclocopa caffra

Dear Jason,
This is a Carpenter Bee, just not the Valley Carpenter Bee which is native to the North American southwest.  We believe your individual is a Male Carpenter Bee:
Xyclocopa caffra, based on this image posted on USGS Science for a Changing World.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Male Carpenter Bee from Trinidad & Tobago

 

Subject:  Identification of Insect Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 05:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify this scary looking creature. I saw it outside my home a couple weeks ago when the rainy season became more intense. I live on the hilly part of North Trinidad, which is an island in the Caribbean. The bug was probably one and a half inches long and 1 inch wide. I left it alone and it disappeared after a while. The area is a little bushy with a few fruit trees around. Thanks for your help.
How you want your letter signed:  Aisha Baptiste

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Aisha,
This is a harmless male Carpenter Bee.  Male Carpenter Bees are incapable of stinging.  Only the females, which are generally larger and often exhibit sexual dimorphism, are capable of stinging.  While males of many species of Carpenter Bees are often gold in color, the females are generally larger and often black in color, appearing to be a different species.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for your prompt response! I do appreciate all of this information.
Best Regards,
Aisha.

Dear Daniel,
Sorry to bother you again, but after reading the Barbados account, I just realised that we also refer to the female Carpenter bee as a black bumble bee in Trinidad (and I was stung by one as a child). This was a real eye opener. Thanks again!
Regards,
Aisha

Hi again Aisha,
Female Carpenter Bees are not aggressive, though they are capable of stinging.  We are cheered to learn our response was helpful and eye opening.

I agree they aren’t aggressive. I was about 5 or 6 years old and it actually landed on me when I was walking home from school. I began to yell and scream and another child told me to hit it with my lunch kit and that’s when I got stung on my belly.

Swatting an unknown insect that lands on one is a good way to get bitten or stung.  Creatures will defend themselves.  Though at five or six, you might not have realized this, but it is a far better method to blow an unknown creature off of one’s body, if possible.

Letter 2 – Male Carpenter Bees

 

what kind of bee is this?
I live in San Jose. These are the biggest bees i have ever seen.
jay

Hi Jay,
Male Valley Carpenter Bees are golden while females are blue-black. Males are short lived and fly in the spring.

Letter 3 – Male Eastern Carpenter Bee

 

Male Carpenter Bee
Hey guys, thanks again for the website. I concur with everyone who says they love it. Here are some pics of a Male Carpenter Bee, as you can see the white patch on his face. These were taken back in April of ’06. I was able to get SUPER close to him. The reason for this is that he wouldn’t move; it’s like he was hibernating. Would you know what reasons there might be for him not moving? Asleep? It was also early in the morning(7:30) and was pretty cold. He was not far from his nest as my apartment has wooden stairs and the bee’s nest was in those stairs. Thanks for any help you can give.
Adam S.
Olathe, KS 38°52′51″N, 94°48′11″W

Male Eastern Carpenter Bee
Male Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hi Adam,
We had been meaning to respond and post your letter sooner, but the duties of posting got away from us this past weekend. Your photo of a male Eastern Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa virginica, is a welcome addition to our archives. According to BugGuide: “Large, black hairless abdomen, yellow pile on thorax. Males have yellow/white face. Common in eastern North America, and the only member of its genus in much of range.” The sluggish behavior you describe is probably a result of the cool morning since bees need warmth to become active. Also, it he was newly metamorphosed, he might have never attempted flight. Warmth is a consideration either way.

Letter 4 – Male Eastern Carpenter Bee

 

What type of Bee is this?
March 31, 2010
I have searched all morning trying to figure out what type of bee this is, but no luck yet. Everything points to a Carpenter Bee, but I don’t think it is. They are swarming our patio, we live on the 4th floor of a Condo. All have the yellow marking.
Thanks, Mary
Hilton Head Island,South Carolina

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hi Mary,
This is an Eastern Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa virginica, and according to BugGuide:  “Large, black hairless abdomen, yellow pile on thorax. Males have yellow/white face. Common in eastern North America, and the only member of its genus in much of range.
The light face on your individual makes it a male.

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Letter 5 – Male Eastern Carpenter Bee mounted by male Mining Bee

 

Subject: Hitchhiking Bee?
Location: Andover, NJ
April 22, 2014 5:38 am
I am hoping that you might be able to shed some light on this very peculiar behavior. I was photographing bees in our yard yesterday (our cherry trees just started blooming) and was excited to see my first carpenter bee of the season – then I realized that he had a passenger. The second bee was hanging tight to the carpenter’s back. The carpenter traveled around to some daffodils, seemingly not bothered by the passenger. Then, a third bee (and third species from what I could tell) flew in and appeared to attack the first bee. All three bees separated and flew off. The carpenter didn’t appear to be injured.
I’ve never seen anything like this and really hope that you might be able to tell me what it all meant.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Eastern Carpenter Bee carrying passenger Bee
Eastern Carpenter Bee carrying passenger Bee

Hi Deborah,
We must confess that we are uncertain what is going on in your images, which are quite detailed.  The Eastern Carpenter Bee is a male as evidenced by his light face.  We will send your images to Eric Eaton to see if he can identify the hitchhiking bee and to see if he has any idea what this behavior indicates.

Thanks, Daniel.  I am completely baffled by the behavior and the only plausible explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that perhaps the smaller bee was after pollen?  Hope Eric can shed some light on it.
By the way, I just got your book and am really enjoying it!
Debbi

Male Eastern Carpenter Bee carries passenger Bee
Male Eastern Carpenter Bee carries passenger Bee

Eric Eaton provides an identification and a hypothesis!!!
Daniel:
Looks like a male Andrena mining bee, perhaps trying to chase the male carpenter bee out of its territory?  That’s the only explanation I can think of.
Eric

Unknown Bee riding on male Eastern Carpenter Bee
Unknown Bee riding on male Eastern Carpenter Bee

 

Letter 6 – Male Carpenter Bee from South Africa

 

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!
Regards
Rachel Klass

Letter 7 – Male Carpenter Bee from South Africa

 

Subject:  Odd discovery in SOUth Africa- What bee is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Coastline of SOuth Africa – Eastern Cape
Date: 09/22/2021
Time: 06:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman – my mother found this bee in Mbotyi – the Eastern Cape town in South AFrica. It looks like a Valley Carpenter bee which is highly unlikely – can you assist?
How you want your letter signed:  Jason M

Male Carpenter Bee: Xyclocopa caffra

Dear Jason,
This is a Carpenter Bee, just not the Valley Carpenter Bee which is native to the North American southwest.  We believe your individual is a Male Carpenter Bee:
Xyclocopa caffra, based on this image posted on USGS Science for a Changing World.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Carpenter Bee

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • We have a lot of these where I live in SC. You will generally find the males swarming around more than the females. From what I have learned, the male bees don’t visit flowers much except to feed themselves, but they will swarm and “dogfight” each other. A distinct characteristic of the Eastern Carpenter male is that they will hover in the air, especially around you when you stumble into their nests. Don’t worry though, the yellow patch between their eyes means they are a male, and they don’t have stingers. Another way to tell the Eastern Carpenter from other bees is their shiny abdomen(stomach part of the bug).

    Reply
  • Doreen Anderson
    October 17, 2022 12:42 pm

    Another carpenter bee seen today in Arima

    Reply

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