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Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa Caffra


This commom sight in the Western Cape is the female as the males are completly covered in yellow hairs.(I am yet to find one). Their name, Xylocopa is from the Greek which means wood cutter. They bore into wood by vibrating their bodies while rasping with there saw like mandibles, the first buzz saw perhaps? They are stocky with two difined yellow stripes on their back. The bore nests into Aloe and Agave stems as well as tree branches and construct a series of cells seperated by partitions of wood scrapings glued with saliva. Strangly, females have a colony of mites from the Dinogamasus species, living in a special hollow in their abdomen. The relationship is not fully understood but one theroy is they feed on fungai and other harmful mites in the nest ridding it of these parasites.


Wide range from Fynbos to dry Karoo desert.

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1 Comment

Leanna2 2 years ago

My absolute favourite .... love these big boys who physically should not be able to fly 😊

Michael Strydom
Spotted by
Michael Strydom

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Spotted on Jul 20, 2018
Submitted on Jul 20, 2018

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