What is the Difference Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees

The main difference between male and female carpenter bees is that the male carpenter bees have a white marking on the head whereas the female carpenter bees have a pure black color head. Furthermore, male carpenter bees do not have a stinger at their back while female carpenter bees have a stinger.

Male and female carpenter bees are the two sexes of the carpenter bees that are active at the beginning of the spring.

Key areas Covered

1. Male Carpenter Bees
     – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior
2. Female Carpenter Bees
     – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior
3. What are the Similarities Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Dive Bomb, Female Carpenter Bees, Male Carpenter Bees, Nesting, Stinger

Difference Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees - Comparison Summary

Male Carpenter Bees – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior

Male carpenter bees are the harmless carpenter bees that do not have a stinger at their back. The main characteristic feature of the male carpenter bees that helps to distinguish them from female carpenter bees is the presence of a white spot on the head. But, female carpenter bees have a pure black head.

What is the Difference Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees_Figure 1

Figure 1: Xylocopa virginica Male

A characteristic behaviour of the male carpenter bees is that they hover around the entrance of the nest, protecting the female carpenter bee. Although the male carpenter bee does not have a stinger, he is an aggressive bee. Their general mechanism of defending is dive bombing – attack by swooping down and slamming any offender.

Female Carpenter Bees – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior

Female carpenter bees are the carpenter bees with a stinger at their back. They can defend by stinging animals including humans. The main characteristic behavioural feature of the female carpenter bees is building nests. They can make a hole in wood with ½ inches in diameter. The female carpenter bees use their vibrating mandibles against the wood to burrow this hole. The tunnel can be long up to 2 feet and it contains multiple subchannels, branching off from the main channel.

What is the Difference Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees_Figure 2

Figure 2: Xylocopa caffra Female

After burrowing, female carpenter bee lays eggs inside the tunnel and the young carpenter bees live with their mother until they become mature. The young are fed up by pollen grains. Mature carpenter bees leave the nest in the late summer.

Similarities Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees

  • Male and female carpenter bees are the two sexes of the carpenter bees.
  • They belong to the genus Xylocopa.
  • They are a type of large bees active in the spring.
  • Both have a bare abdomen, which is black and shiny.
  • Also, their thorax is hairy and yellow or orange in colour.
  • Furthermore, the size of them can be ¾ to 1 inch in length.
  • Moreover, they have a short tongue, which allows feeding on open-faced flowers.

Difference Between Male and Female Carpenter Bees

Definition

Male carpenter bees are harmless carpenter bees that do not have a stinger while female carpenter bees are carpenter bees with a stinger at the back. Thus, this is the main difference between male and female carpenter bees.

Head

A most significant difference between male and female carpenter bees is that male carpenter bees have a white spot on the head while female carpenter bees have a pure black head.

Nesting

Male carpenter bees do not burrow nests while female carpenter bees burrow nests in the wood. This is another difference between male and female carpenter bees. 

Defence

Male carpenter bees are aggressive and attack by dive bombing while female carpenter bees can sting animals and humans.

Conclusion

The main distinguishing feature between male and female carpenter bees is the presence of a white spot on the head of the males. Male carpenter bees are the bees without a stinger at their back. They are aggressive and defend through dive bombing. On the other hand, female carpenter bees are the carpenter bees with a stinger. They can sting animals to defend themselves. They burrow tunnels in wood for nesting. Therefore, the main difference between male and female carpenter bees is their spot on the head and defence mechanism.

Reference:

1. “How to Identify Carpenter Bees.” Best Bee Brothers, LLCAvailable Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Xylocopa virginica male 9931″ By Pollinator at the English language Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “Carpenter bee (Xylocopa caffra) female” By Charles J Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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