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Eastern Carpenter bee

Xylocopa virginica


The common eastern carpenter bee is the carpenter bee most often encountered in the eastern United States. It is often mistaken for a large bumblebee species, as they are similar in size and coloring. The most visible physical difference between this species and a bumblebee is the abdomen. Eastern carpenter bees have a shiny black abdomen, with the only yellow hair present being at the base next to the thorax, while bumblebees have a very fuzzy abdomen, which in some species has large areas of yellow hair across the middle (this is visible and obvious). The female eastern carpenter bee also has a much broader head than bumblebees. Eastern carpenter bees can be sexed at a glance. Males have a patch of white cuticle on the face, as opposed to females, whose faces are black. Males are unable to sting, since a bee's stinger is a modified ovipositor (an egg laying organ). Female carpenter bees make nests by tunneling into wood. They make an initial upward hole in an overhang, eaves trough, or similar structure. Then, they make one or more horizontal tunnels. Males will visit flowers only to feed themselves, spending the rest of the time hovering in their territory and investigating any movement, or guarding flowers where they might encounter females . Females spend the majority of their time gathering nectar and pollen to provision their nests.


Forests and adjacent areas with flowers.


Possibly a male bee

1 species ID suggestions

1 Comment

keithp2012 6 years ago

Thank You for your help!

New York, USA

Lat: 40.70, Long: -73.35

Spotted on Jun 15, 2010
Submitted on Sep 7, 2010

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