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Afrotropical Carpenter Bee (female)

Xylocopa caffra


Xylocopa bees are a bee species that do not produce honey but are important pollinators of crops and wild plants. Male and female individuals have different coloration. The genus Xylocopa is a diverse, widely distributed group of solitary bees. Worldwide, there are about 500 species of carpenter bees representing 31 subgenera.


High altitude meadowland, next to a gravel road.


This bee has developed a special cavity, called an acarinarium, on the abdomen. The cavity has evolved specifically to transport mites. The relationship is an example of a mutualism that is of benefit to both the bee and the mite. The mites hitch a ride from the nest the bee developed in to any new nests that she constructs for her off-spring. The mites feed on fungi in the nest keeping it away from the pollen provisions and her larva. More to read and a picture here: Xylocopa bees do have quite a painful sting but they are not aggressive and will only sting for defence. Individuals live independently of the others (i.e. they are solitary) or in small groups. Xylocopa bees are larger than honey bees, hairy, often colourful and their wings make a loud buzzing sound while flying. Xylocopa bees nest in tree trunks, in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers. They construct their nests by boring tunnels in wood materials, which is why they are known as carpenter bees.

1 species ID suggestions

Afrotropical Carpenter Bee
Xylocopa caffra Xylocopa caffra - -- Discover Life


Tiz 5 years ago

Injica, Adarsha, thank you for you comments. I have never seen a Carpenter bee before, and I think they are fascinating. I hope to spot a male of this species as well, he looks like a tiny chicken on wings...

Adarsha B S
Adarsha B S 5 years ago

Carpenter bee are simply amazing :)

injica 5 years ago

Beautiful ;)

Tiz 5 years ago

Agnes! You rock! Thank you very very much! I am looking forward to learn more about the Carpenter bee!

Beautiful carpenter bee! -

This looks very similar to my spotting of Yellow-banded Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa philippinensis - :)

Sifundza seLubombo, Swaziland

Lat: -26.15, Long: 31.98

Spotted on Jul 27, 2013
Submitted on Aug 1, 2013

Spotted for mission


Related spottings

Tropical Carpenter Bee Tropical Bee Carpenter carpenter bee Xylocopa virginica

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