For the most part carpenter bees are considered solitary. However, sometimes newly hatched daughters will live together with their mother. These bees are gregarious and will often nest in the same burrow for generations. Males and females emerge in the spring and early summer. Males often dart around outside of a nest waiting to mate with emerging females. Nests are created by tunneling perfectly circular holes into wood, leaving a pile of sawdust behind. Nests are typically 15 mm in diameter and extend about 30 to 45 cm. The nests have a string of individual cells, usually between six and eight, and a partition between each cell made of saliva and sawdust. In each cell the female places a pollen ball and lays one large egg, each egg is up to 15 mm long. The eggs hatch into larvae, which consume the pollen ball, and then enter hibernation. The larvae pupate and turn into adult bees. Adult females can live up to three years and can produce two generations of offspring per year.
- Carpenter Bees: Xylocopa virginica (Steve Jacobs, Penn State University Department of Entomology, May 2007)
- Fact Sheet: Carpenter Bees (Susan C. Jones, Ohio State University)
- Pollinator Profile: Carpenter Bee (Pollination Canada)
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