Large Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa spp.

Large Carpenter Bee, Carpenter Bee

1 of 14
1 of 14
Xylocopa bees are also known as Carpenter Bees. Sometimes they're called Large Carpenter Bees to distinguish them from the Ceratina, the Small Carpenter Bees. Xylocopa comprises roughly 500 species! The name carpenter bee refers to their tendency to drill into plant materials, such as bamboo and wood. They use the chewed-up pulp to partition each cell, in which they lay an egg. There is one subgenus in the group which comprises ground-nesting bees. Sometimes, they may end up excavating into human-made structures. Their nesting won't cause too many problems, because they'll rarely excavate deep enough to compromise structure stability. However, birds such as woodpeckers can sometimes intensify problems when they repurpose old nests. Some Xylocopa bees are known to have special relationships with mites. The bees even possess a specialised structure on the body, similar to a pouch, to house them. They're important pollinators of plants which produce open-faced or lidded flowers. Although, they're also known to be nectar-robbers of tubular flowers possessing deeper nectar stores.


A brilliant pollinator due to their large size.
They may drill holes in plants and built wooden structures.


Adults: The adult bees are large, black with shiny abdomens. The colour and quantity of bands on the body are species-dependent. The males are typically bright yellow or brown. Tip* They're often confused with bumblebees. However, an easy way to tell them apart would be to use the abdominal region. The abdominal area of a bumblebee is much hairier when compared to the smooth and shiny carpenter bee. Larvae and Eggs: Gardeners rarely see these because they spend the life stage developing in the nest or burrow.


They may excavate in tree trunks, in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers. Sometimes they'll drill into wooden garden furniture. Nesting sites can be made worse by birds.











Worldwide, minus Antarctica.

Biological treatment

Xylocopa are brilliant garden pollinators; it's advised to tolerate them wherever possible. Not only will they help increase flowering and yields, but they're also important pollinators of indigenous plants, too! You can attract them into your garden by leaving stacks of old timber, deadwood and branches. They enjoy the nectar and pollen of pink, purple, white and yellow open-petaled or shallow-faced flowers.


Be the first to download the app

Help us build a place where community meets knowledge. Try it out and let us know what you think.
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

What is Candide?

Candide has everything for plant lovers – buy plants from independent sellers and book tickets to visit inspiring gardens near you. Identify plants in seconds from a single photo and learn how to care for them with our in-depth guides.


Learn how to care for your plants and share your growing successes on Candide’s free app for your phone or tablet.

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Germinated in Bristol © 2021 Candide