RICHARD J. GREEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD J. GREEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Eastern Carpenter Bee, male (Xylocopa virginica). The Eastern Carpenter Bee is often mistaken for a large bumblebee species, as they are similar in size and coloring. They are important pollinators, and sometimes bore holes in wood dwellings. They use chewed wood bits to form partitions between the cells in the nest. 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. Female carpenter bees make nests by tunneling into wood. They make an initial upward hole in an overhang. Then they make one or more horizontal tunnels. Unlike termites, carpenter bees (also called woodcutters) do not eat wood. They discard the bits of wood, or use them to make partitions (walls) inside the tunnels of their nests. The tunnel functions as a nursery for brood and the pollen or nectar upon which the brood subsists.
Model release not required. Property release not required.