Carpenter bee on a powder puff flower in IISc

Captured these images as a Carpenter bee was sipping nectar from a Powder Puff Flower in the 400 acre wooded campus of the Indian Institute of Science, IISc, Bangalore.

Carpenter bees are often mistaken for Bumblebees.
  • Carpenter bees are species in the genus Xylocopa of the subfamily Xylocopinae. The genus includes some 500 species in 31 subgenera.The common name “carpenter bee” derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow/tunnel into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo.
  • They vibrate their bodies as they rasp their mandibles against hard wood, each nest having a single entrance which may have many adjacent tunnel.
  • The bee’s don’t have a hive as honey bees but are solitary bees.
  • The French entomologist Pierre André Latreille described the genus in 1802. He derived the name from the Ancient Greek xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος “wood-cutter.
  • The iridescent colors of the wings is not caused by pigmentation but is rather caused by the an interplay of microscopic ridges, cross ribs, physical structures of the order of seveal hundreds of nanometers, interacting with light to produce iridescence. 
March 14th 2018.