The Violet Valga Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa valga) is an insect in the bee family. It is not a Bumblebee, because a Bumblebee has a hairy body. Xylocopa violaceaand Xylocopa valgaare two species of the Violet Carpenter Bee.
The Violet Valga Carpenter Bee is glossy black all over with sparse black hairs. The opaque wings are dark brown with a blue-coloured sheen. It has six legs, two pairs of wings, and three body parts: (1) head, (2) thorax, and (3) abdomen. Its wings are dark (not translucent like other bees). Its antennae are medium-sized, and the male has slightly bent antennae. The male has a yellow patch on the top of its thorax, whereas the female does not (she has a black thorax). The male does not have a stinger. The female has a stinger on her abdomen, but she is not aggressive.
It grows to about 4-5 centimetres (2 inches) long.
It is common in eastern Europe. It hibernates in winter. It prefers hot, open spaces, especially near human activity. It is also common in wine regions.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It collects pollen from plants on its hind legs. It is a pollinator, but it does not make honey or honeycombs.
The Carpenter Bee does not eat wood. It eats nectar from flowers. Its predators include woodpeckers, bee-eater birds, and other birds.
It is a solitary insect. It does not live in colonies like other bees. However, it creates a nest near other solitary bee nests. Instead of many bees living in a nest, only one family lives in the nest. The nest is not a hive; it is a tunnel in dead wood, a wooden bench, or bamboo.
The female lays large eggs in cells in the nest. There are walls that separate the cells. These walls are composed of sawdust mixed with saliva.
[Location of photographs: National Botanical Garden of Georgia in Tbilisi]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM