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Doublebanded Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa caffra

Doublebanded Carpenter Bee

A close up of a carpenter bee
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The Banded Carpenter Bee is a stout, long-tongued insect. They're called carpenter bees because they drill into plant stems, branches and timber to make their nests- so they may be pests in some cases. They'll use sawdust particles to build cell-partitions within the drilled tunnels. These bees do well in a variety of habitats, including fynbos, succulent karoo, farmland, marshland, coastal bush, woodlands, and of course, they're frequent garden visitors, too! They are typically solitary, meaning they care for broods alone. They're specialist pollinators of many vegetable and fruit crops, as well as indigenous plants. They're able to perform something known as 'buzz pollination', a behaviour which enables them to collect pollen from plants whose pollen remains firmly attached to the anthers.
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Traits

Pollinator of many indigenous plants and agricultural crops.
They may drill holes in plants and built wooden structures.

Appearance

Adults: The female is black with two bands of yellow (or white) hairs, one on the thorax and on on the abdomen. The male is entirely yellow. The wings are tinted black. Sometimes they house small, red-brown mites on the abdomen. Larvae and Eggs: Gardeners rarely see these because they spend the life stage developing in the nest or burrow.

Symptoms

They may excavate in tree trunks, in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers. They may hollow out stem structures of Aloe and Agave. Some have been known to tunnel into wooden garden furniture!

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Apidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

West, Central and South Africa.

Biological treatment

Xylocopa caffra is a brilliant garden pollinator; 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 flowers.

Attracts

Plants in Fabaceae, Malvaceae and Rubiaceae.
Some red Solanum lycopersicum tomatoes in a garden

Tomato

Solanum lycopersicum

Kiwifruit

Actinidia deliciosa

A close up of a purple Solanum melongena flower

Eggplant

Solanum melongena

Vetch

Vicia spp.

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Sesame

Sesamum indicum

A close up of the white and purple flower of Passiflora edulis surround by its green leaves.

Granadilla

Passiflora edulis

Apple

Malus spp.

Sea-Rose

Orphium frutescens

Arctotheca calendula Chiclana, Cádiz, España

Cape Marigold

Arctotheca calendula

Sour Fig

Carpobrotus edulis

Rooibos

Aspalathus spp.

Mescal

Agave spp.

Ceratotheca triloba

Wild Foxglove

Ceratotheca triloba

Dissotis princeps

Sichobochobo

Dissotis princeps

Podalyria calyptrata. The Water Blossom Pea tree. Fynbos at Newlands Forest. Cape Town.

Sweetpea Bush

Podalyria calyptrata

Port St Johns Creeper

Podranea ricasoliana

Aristea capitata

Blue Sceptre

Aristea capitata

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Plant Knowledge

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