Teddy Bear Carpenter Bee, Black Carpenter Bees California

Teddy Bear Bee-Valley Carpenter Bee, Flying Teddy Bears

The bees around here are leaving. It is getting cold here in California, and the bee activity has been down for the past few weeks. I still see honeybees, but have not seen any native bees. Since I have not had any time to go out and take photos, I will be sharing bee photos from a great new friend that I met through this blog.

Cynthia King from Morgan Hills, California took this photo of this male carpenter bee in a San Jose, Ca. nursery.

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This is a male carpenter bee, which I think may be the Valley Carpenter bee (Xylocopa veripuncta). The females of this species have a similar body style except they are metallic black and minus the fuzziness. For this species of carpenter bee, the males look very different from the females, but not all the species behave this way. For some species, both the male and female are metallic black, except the males are smaller. But this species has that nice obvious difference.

The Valley Carpenter bee are one of three species of carpenter bees found in Southern/Northern California, and are the largest bees found in California. They look like little tanks flying in the air. Cute but intimidating…yet gentle.

This male was found resting on a lavender plant, he more likely slept there and was starting to wake and warm up. I assume he was sleeping there since many male bees sleep in flowers, on twigs, branches, etc.  These bees may look scary (especially since they are big), but they are truly gentle. They will not sting you unless provoked. And come on, if someone was poking at you wouldn’t you want to sting them? Cynthia could have actually grabbed this guy without being stung. Why? Because he is a male bee and males do not have stingers.

Here is another great photo of this beautiful golden fuzz.

I have always loved the vivid orange color with emerald green eyes. When the males are out flying they look like fireballs flying through the sky. They are just gorgeous. So if you live in California and manage to see one of these flying around, take a moment and admire its beauty. These guys (and girls) are usually around from spring to fall. For more information about these bees visit the U.C. Davis Department of Entomology.

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