Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Eastern Carpenter Bee, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/8/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The female Eastern Carpenter Bee bores holes into wood homes, fences and patios to place her eggs as her mate acts as sentinel while she works.
Though it looks like a Bumble Bee, the Carpenter Bee does not have a fuzzy abdomen, though it may have a few short hairs here and there. They are quite common along the middle and eastern parts of the continent. They can be found in parks, garden and woods, fields and are adept at finding flowers from which to harvest pollen. They are beneficial pollinators and should be welcome visitors to any landscape. Though adults feed on flower nectar, they sometimes eat through stems, causing some unsightly damage, in order to get it. They move quickly from flower to flower, covering a large area in a short time. They don't seem to mind sharing flower patch territory with other varieties of bees. Watch some of them pollinating flowers with other bees here:
Females use their strong jaws to cut into wood, making holes as large as their bodies. These somewhat deep holes may appear on wooden fence posts, lumber, tree trunks and other thick wooden structures. They rarely bore enough holes to weaken the structure they're digging into. This nest is where a female will deposit her eggs, adding some pollen grains for each egg to serve as a food supply once the larvae hatch.
A male will guard the entry to the nest, preventing other males from potentially reproducing with the female.
Males and females look similar save the light yellow/white patch of hair on the male's face. Males are not known to sting, though females may. All adults are most active from spring through summer. They all hibernate during the winter.