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Xylocopa violacea, the violet carpenter bee, is the common European species of carpenter bee, and one of the largest bees in Europe. Like most members of the genus Xylocopa, it makes its nests in dead wood. Its body is black and hairy. The wings have typical blue and violet iridescence with a wingspan of 4,5 to 5 cm and and a length of 2,5 to 3 cm. The female has a sting but she is not aggressive. It feeds on pollen and nectar that recollects from a big variety of flowers, so it is an excellent pollinator. It builds nests on wood drilling it with its mandibles, excavating parallel galleries that finish in a single opening. In spring it lays a dozen eggs and later on the larvae feed on a mix of pollen and nectar left by the female at the nest. The developed larvae measure between 2 and 3 cm in length. It is not particularly aggressive and will attack only if forced to. It is sometimes mistaken for the European hornet.
It is very common in central and south Europe, including the Iberian peninsula. At the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid.