Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Xylocopa virginica - Eastern Carpenter Bee

Eastern Carpenter Bee - Xylocopa virginica - female Eastern Carpenter Bee - Xylocopa virginica - female Large Bee?  - Xylocopa virginica - female Large Carpenter Bee - Xylocopa virginica - male KS Carpenter #2 - Xylocopa virginica - male Large Carpenter Bee, Male - Xylocopa virginica - male
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
Subfamily Xylocopinae (Carpenter Bees)
Genus Xylocopa (Large Carpenter Bees)
No Taxon (Subgenus Xylocopoides)
Species virginica (Eastern Carpenter Bee)
Other Common Names
Common Carpenter Bee
Explanation of Names
Xylocopa virginica (Linnaeus 1771)
Size
19-23 mm
Identification
Large, black "hairless" abdomen (but males esp. of subspecies texana can have conspicuous patches of short hair), yellow pile on thorax. Males have yellow/white face. Common in eastern North America, and the only member of its genus in much of range.
Range
e. NA (map)(1)
Habitat
Forests and adjacent areas with flowers
Food
Adults take nectar from many flowers, often biting into base of flower to "rob" it without pollinating (but seen to pollinate Passiflora incarnata quite effectively--pollen is deposited on thorax). Hosts associations listed here.(1)
Life Cycle
Nests (galleries) are built in dry, standing wood. Conifers are preferred. Eggs are laid on masses of pollen and nectar, several (6-8) to a gallery. One generation per year in most of range. Adults emerge in late summer, overwinter, mate and nest in spring. Perhaps two generations per year in Florida.
See Also
(East and central US. It keeps spreading)

Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are somewhat smaller and typically have hairy abdomen
Print References
Gerling D., Hermann H.R. (1978) Biology and mating behavior of Xylocopa virginica L. (Hymenoptera, Anthophoridae). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 3: 99–111 (Full text)
Internet References
Fact sheet (Grissell 2014)[Cite:185010]