Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Violacea) (Explained Guide)

The Violet carpenter bee (Violet bumblebee), which has a spectacular appearance, belongs to the bees genus of carpenter bees, that is, insects that build their nests in the remains of tree species. It can be buildings, poles, fences, bamboo. The Latin name for the Violet bumblebee is Xylocopa violacea. Refers to relic insects, that is, preserved from prehistoric times. This species has existed since the Paleogene.

Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Violacea)

Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Violacea) Description

On some parts of the body, a blue metallic sheen can be seen. The wings are also dark, with bright tints of blue and Violet hues. The paws of the insect are pubescent, the antennae are black with red spots at the tips. The head is large, the jaw is powerful, especially in females, because it is they who build nests for masonry in the wood.

Violet Carpenter Bee Behavior

The Violet bee begins to fly from mid-April. The flight ends around the end of September. The Violet bumblebee chooses typical places of carpenters as a habitat and for breeding offspring: fence posts, utility poles, dry tree trunks, rocks, abandoned rodent burrows. Prefers open places: near settlements, on the edge of the forest.

In any habitat choose the sunny side, not the shade. A Violet bee chooses a location next to a person not because of its proximity (prefers solitude), but because of the abundance of suitable materials for building nests.

Over the millennia of coexistence with humans, Violet carpenter bees have developed certain habits. Sometimes you can see how they examine panel or concrete houses. They are looking for a suitable rotten beam or ceiling. Such searches are forced by human activity. Forestry departments are clearing the forests of deadwood, sanitary felling deprives carpenter bees of the opportunity to quickly find suitable housing.

New generations of bumblebees are in no hurry to leave their father’s house for good: up to 10 generations can live in one nest or until the wood deteriorates. The food of adult Violet bees is nectar, plant pollen.

Violet Carpenter Bee habitats

Violet Carpenter Bee habitats

The Violet Carpenter Bee is common in Turkey, Western Asia, and the Middle East. There are in the Caucasus, in the countries of Southern Europe. Recently, the habitat of the bumblebee has expanded. Cases of the appearance of a carpenter bee were noted in the south of Great Britain, near Novosibirsk. Scientists attribute this to global warming.

The insect is thermophilic, therefore its habitat is the south of the Middle Strip. Bumblebee carpenter is included in the Red Book of Ukraine, Russia. In Ukraine, it lives mainly in the southern regions, rarely found in the rest. You can meet a bumblebee in the Crimea. It is in Russia, Belarus, but not in every region. In Russia, it is found only in the southern and western regions, for example, in the Belgorod region, in Belarus – in the Gomel region.

Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Violacea) reproduction and breed

Violet carpenter bumblebees seek out a mating partner mainly in the spring. Males are highly competitive and polygamous, lead an extremely active lifestyle, driving competitors out of their territory. Each male fertilizes 3-5 female bees. New “wives” are lured by a loud buzzing, sitting on a branch or on a bush. When they say that this is a solitary insect, they mean males. Female bees can live in small colonies, including their sisters or daughters.

The female, instead of protecting the territory, builds a nest. Due to the structure of the oral apparatus, it is not only able to grind wood into dust, but also gnaw out fairly large whole pieces. The work is accompanied by a characteristic sound that a person can hear for 10-20 meters. The sound is described as “causing primal terror”. The channel that the bee gnaws out turns out to be rather big, in diameter with the finger of an adult. Having gone to a depth of 8-10 cm, the female insect turns down and makes cells.

One egg is placed in each cell. One female creates one nest per year. The masonry consists of 10-12 adjacent cells filled with pollen gnawed into the wood. The female diligently collects pollen, delivering it to the “house” on the hairs of her legs. The last cell is gradually filled with supplies. When there are enough of them, the female lays an egg, seals this cell with a dense membrane of “lumber” (wood sawdust, held together by her own sticky saliva). The process is repeated for the next cell. When all the eggs are laid, the entrance is also sealed and the female flies away.

In such a dwelling, future bees develop without external help, using the food left to them. Young insects (imagoes) hibernate where they hatched – in wood. In spring, young bumblebees come out. Everyone gnaws their own way out.

violet carpenter bees pros and cons

Why is this beautiful bumblebee dangerous? Males of the Violet carpenter bumblebee lack the ability to sting, although they may pursue a trespasser. A female bee can sting, but will not attack for no reason, in most cases it will simply fly away when it sees a person. Solitary tree bees are characterized by a low level of aggression, in contrast to honey bees (average level of aggressiveness) or wasps (high). The black bumblebee is no exception.

Can an attack by this bee lead to death? A carpenter bee sting in the throat can indeed be fatal due to anaphylactic shock. However, the insect is endangered and, due to its calm disposition, rarely bites. Therefore, the likelihood of being harmed by a Violet carpenter bumblebee is extremely low.

Sometimes carpenter bumblebees are considered pests that spoil wooden buildings. But insects never choose fresh, strong wood for their nests. It is beyond their strength, despite the powerful jaws. Carpenters settle only in old wood that has lost a significant proportion of its density. Therefore, their settlements can be considered an indicator of the quality of fences or sheds. If the bee carpenter began to build masonry in them, then it’s time to update the material.

Carpenter bees do not nest in painted or treated wood. The Violet carpenter bumblebee is an excellent pollinator. In single bees, this figure is many times higher. They work even in bad weather, in search of food they are able to cover vast distances.

How to get rid of violet carpenter bee?

For those who are interested in how to get rid of Violet bumblebee settlements, there are a lot of successfully working recommendations. Special traps made of boards with a bottle of water inside, industrial traps with ultraviolet lamps, destruction of nests with diesel fuel, gasoline, soap solution.

And how to get rid of the blue bumblebee so that its population does not suffer? Indeed, there are more humane ways that do not involve the death of rare and generally harmless insects. Bees perceive noise, loud sounds extremely negatively. It is enough to place speakers of any musical device next to the colony and regularly turn on your favorite music loudly.

Gradually, the carpenter bees will leave the inhospitable place. An intermediate humane method is a flood of machine oil into the nests. It destroys only the larvae, it does not kill insects, but simply makes them uncomfortable and they fly away. Treatment with strong-smelling sprays or decoctions will also help: mint, thyme, lavender, onion infusion.