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Carpenter Bee

Looking like oversized bumblebees, carpenter bees are solitary insects often seen hovering by flowering shrubs such as the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum).


Gentle giants that rarely sting, and with much less pain than a honeybee, these robust insects use their jaws to construct nesting burrows in wood, hence the name, carpenter bees. Three species occur in Singapore: the humongous Xylocopa latipes (possibly the world’s largest bee), Xylocopa confusa, which has black females and hairy, gold males, and Xylocopa caerulea with its brilliant blue thorax.

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Taken on December 20, 2011