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Can you tell what type of bumblebee this is? It's the largest yellow one I've ever seen. It dwarfed the honey bees, but is not as large as a carpenter bee. I watched it for about 20 minutes, waiting for it to land. But it just hovered in a geometric pattern above the flowers, never landing on one. This was taken out at UCSB West Campus. Thanks!

Kevin, UCSB - April 18, 2023

Curator Response

Hi Kevin,

Awesome sighting and photos. This is a male Xylocopa sonorina, the valley carpenter bee. This species is sexually dimorphic, so males look like this yellow bee you saw, and females are all black (but with a really pretty shine to them). The males are sometimes referred to as teddy bear bees. He was patrolling the flowers looking for females, if he was just hovering about and not landing.

Stay curious and keep sending us your best bees,

Bee researcher and Teen Programs Manager Charlie Thrift

Kevin response:

Ok, great, thanks! My friend Betsy (works with EITS at SBMNH) thought it might be a male carpenter bee. As always, thanks again for the great info!