Eastern Carpenter Bee

Meet the Native Pollinators is a series aimed to provide an introduction to the many wild pollinators found in and around the NYC region. Learn more about the Eastern Carpenter Bee below.


Latin name 

Xylocopa virginica

Size: 20-25mm

Flight season: March-November

Flower preferences

Feeds on a variety of flowers, including bluebells, penstemons, and food crops


Parks, gardens, fields, and meadows

Interesting facts

Females chew holes in dead trees, logs, or stumps to make nests. They resemble bumble bees but can be distinguished by their shiny abdomen.

The male bee is unable to sting because the stinger is simply a modified ovipositor (which males lack by definition), though they will commonly approach human beings and buzz loudly around them or fly close to them.

Eastern Carpenter Bees use their maxillae to penetrate the corolla of plants and reach the nectar stores, a behavior known as nectar robbing. This happens when the bee pierces the corollas of long-tubed flowers, thus accessing nectar without making contact with the anthers and bypassing pollination. In some plants this reduces fruit production and seed number.

Learn more about the Eastern Carpenter Bee at iNaturalist

Eastern Carpenter Bee


PHOTO by Cindy Goulder