Violet Carpenter Bees Are Out Of Hibernation

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This is a real sign that the thermometers are rising, it has been well over 20 degree Celsius for the last few days during the daytime and this has awoken the Violet Carpenter Bees.

These gentle giants are flying around feeding and also mating. You may think that these are dangerous due to their size, but are really docile and yes like all bees the female has a stinger, but rarely uses it. Many people think these are black, but if you look closely, you will notice the violet reflecting in the sunlight. In some countries Carpenter Bees are a pest as they damage wooden structures, however, Violet Carpenter Bees only seek out dead wood. If you have a garden or some land, leave out a rotting tree trunk or large branch which will become a nest and hibernation home for them. They are solitary bees, but this time of year you may see them mating.

Here are a few shots I snapped in the garden this morning


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The Warm Weather Has Awoken The Carpenter Bees

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The giant of the Bee world, the Violet Carpenter Bee (Abelha carpinteira in Portuguese and Xylocopa violacea in Latin) can grow to over 25mm long. They appear black as they fly around making a deep noise like a WWII fighter plane, but have a violet tinge, hence the name.

Like all Bees, only the female has a sting but they are very comfortable around humans and rarely sting unless threatened. The are solitary Bees and nest in dead wood which is where the name Carpenter Bee is derived. This recent warm weather has brought them out of hibernation.

We have a Mimosa Tree in the garden and as it flowers this time of year it is full of all types of Bees, mainly Honey Bees from a neighboring farm.

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Violet Carpenter Bee/Abelha Carpinteira (Xylocopa violacea)
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The B52 of the Bee World, the Violet Carpenter Bee

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One minute your sitting in the Algarve Serra enjoying the birds singing, then you hear the deep buzzing noise of the Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Violacea) coming as if it’s on a bombing mission.

The first time people see these giants they may think they are dangerous, yes the females have a stinger (like all Bees, the males do not) but they pose no real threat of stinging.

They happily fly around you, sometimes bashing into things as they do appear to be drunk a lot, without even seeming to care you are there.

They are very common up here in the hills of the Algarve and grow to almost 4cm long!

They nest in dead wood or Bamboo. They will only choose rotting wood so pose no great threat to construction unlike species of Carpenter Bee found elsewhere in the world.

The males are often seen this time of year hovering looking for females.

Here’s a picture from the garden late this afternoon.

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Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Violacea) - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/3.5, ISO800, 1/800sec - {Flickr Link}

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