Tuesday, July 24, 2012
ABC Wednesday: B is for Bee
I believe this is a carpenter bee, possibly Xylocopa varipuncta, the Valley Carpenter Bee. They are often confused with bumblebees because of their size, but carpenter bees don't have the fuffy abdomen of bumblebees. Here's a photo of a male Valley Carpenter Bee, they are not blue, but golden and have green eyes.
Carpenter bees can chew holes into wood and then build their nests into the tunnel they made. The do this by chewing the wood with their mandibles and vibrating their bodies at the same time. Usually, they are considered solitary, but with many species, mothers and daughters will cohabit the same nest.
They are important pollinators for a number of flowers, this one is feeding on milkweed. The photos were taken at Capitol Reef National Park in Fruita, Utah.
Utah State University