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Photo#100390
A really big bee - Xylocopa varipuncta - male

A really big bee - Xylocopa varipuncta - Male
Newport Beach, Orange County, California, USA
March 29, 2007
I did a little research, my guess is that its a carpenter bee. I'm allergic to bees, so my first instinct should have been to run not take a picture. I suppose that's something else to discuss with the therapist.

Harmless
As has been mentioned, this is a male and they can't sting. Even the females, though, are pretty safe. You'd practically have to grab one in your hand to get it to sting (though they might be more aggressive in defense of their nests). I had one land on me, and I shooed it off without getting stung.

definitely
this is a male Xylocopa varipuncta, the males can't sting so you should be fine. males are always orange, the females are black and bigger.

 
When i was a kid we had a lem
When i was a kid we had a lemon tree in the backyard and we'd get these huge black bees and my mom always called them "California Bumble Bees" like that was the name or something. I'm assuming thats the female counterpart to this guy.

 
You'll find photos of females (more males too) here:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/13232/bgimage?from=0

You're a real photographer since you stayed and shot! (I've been proven otherwise.) Friends of mine are into bee sting therapy, which makes me wince. BTW, I live in Irvine.

Hard to see
Welcome to Bug Guide. If you can crop your photo more tightly, that'll increase your odds of a quick, accurate identification. Neat bee!

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