|Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa spp)|
DESCRIPTION: L=1". Black bee without hair on abdomen.
NATURAL HISTORY: The female chews cavities into branches (some species prefer dried yucca and agave stalks), lays eggs and provisions with "bee bread" for larvae. Males defend nesting sites from other males and mate with females that nest in their territory. See Bee Biology below for more information.
SOME BEE BIOLOGY
The area around Tucson may have more bee species than anywhere else in the world (1000 species may occur in the sonoran desert)! Bees are vital to the pollination of our crops and to our wild plants (about 80% of the plant taxa in the Tucson Mountains are pollinated by bees). Most of our bees are solitary (as opposed to the social Honey Bee, introduced from Europe), and most dig underground tunnels to lay their eggs (as opposed to the Carpenter Bee that digs tunnels in wood). A nest tunnel typically includes multiple chambers, each filled with one egg and enough food to feed the larva until it metamorphoses into an adult bee (see image above).