The Valley Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa varipuncta) is California’s largest bee and comes in two distinct colors. Males are a fuzzy gold color and have been called “teddy bear” bees while females are shiny and black. Both are excellent flower pollinators. They are named for their ability to burrow into wood, preferring unpainted and unstained fence posts, telephone poles, tree trunks, and similar types of natural timber. However, only the female Valley Carpenter Bee does the excavating.
Valley Carpenter Bees tend to be the first to rise from hibernation in the
spring. It uses this extra time to prepare for the mating process by consuming
large amounts of floral nectar. Eventually, it becomes very territorial, marking
its territory by glandular secretion in order to ward off other males from
stealing potential mates.
Did you know? Male Valley Carpenter Bees are of little
threat to humans as they do not have stingers, while female Valley Carpenter
Bees do have one, but will only sting when provoked.
To see more
photographs of the Valley Carpenter Bee, please visit the BugGuide.net.
PHOTO CREDITS: Harmut Wisch (male bee), Jim Melli (female bee)