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Photo#114304
Male Carpenter Bee! - Xylocopa varipuncta - male

Male Carpenter Bee! - Xylocopa varipuncta - Male
Sunnyvale (Bay Area), Santa Clara County, California, USA
May 27, 2007
This was observed late afternoon. It was in continuous flight for the entire time I watched (10-15 minutes). It seemed to drive off other bees and wasps from the area. In another picture a small black flying insect is present - possibly a male bee. Larger than an ordinary bee - It's wings seemed to be going extremely rapidly. It's flight resembled that of a humming bird.

Images of this individual: tag all
Male Carpenter Bee! - Xylocopa varipuncta - male Male Carpenter Bee! - Xylocopa varipuncta - male Male Carpenter Bee! - Xylocopa varipuncta - male

Thanks for the ID!
I am going to look up some info on this bee. When I think of Carpenter Bee I think of the black and yellow variety. Actually I better submit a picture of them too!

Backwards:-)
Actually, THIS is the MALE bee, a big Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipunctata. The females are all black. Males are anatomically incapable of stinging, but behave aggressively as you describe. Females are too busy boring nest tunnels, dividing them into cells, and provisioning each cell (and its eventual larval occupant) with pollen and nectar to bother going after people. Carpenter bees are good pollinators (especially of passionflowers), so they are nice to have around. Very nice image, hope you will share more.

 
Valley Bee Female - All Black
I checked the other photos and I see the all black female is not at all like the all black insect in my second picture I posted in this series! I realize you probably had not seen that picture yet, I include this comment to clarify for anyone else reading this.

 
@Eric
Really? This comes as a real surprise! There are many carpenter bees around so that part makes sense. They are interesting!

 
its interesting that X. varipuncta is in Sunnyvale
I know of no records from nearby Contra Costa County where I collected for many years.

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