The Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa caffra) is an African insect in the bee family. It is not a Bumblebee, because a Bumblebee has a hairy body.
The Carpenter Bee has six legs, two pairs of wings, and three body parts: (1) head, (2) thorax, and (3) abdomen. It has a shiny black body with two yellow bands or orange-red bands. It has black wings. Its two antennae are medium-sized. The male does not have a stinger. The female has a stinger on its tail, but it is not aggressive.
The Carpenter Bee grows to about 4-5 centimetres (2 inches) long.
The Carpenter Bee ranges from west to central to southern Africa. It can live in various habitats, such as coastal regions and dry savannahs.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It collects pollen from plants on its hind legs. It is a pollinator (it pollinates flowers), but it does not make honey or honeycombs.
It is a solitary insect. It does not live in colonies like other bees. However, it will create a nest near other solitary bee nests. Instead of many bees living in a nest, only one family lives in the nest. The female lays large eggs in cells in the nest.
The nest is not a hive; it is a tunnel in dead wood, a wooden bench, or bamboo. It is called a Carpenter Bee because it burrows into wood.
The Carpenter Bee does not eat wood. It eats nectar from flowers. Its predators include woodpeckers, bee-eater birds, and other birds.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM