The Boys Are Back in Town

Mar 26, 2018

The boys are back in town!

Well, at least one is. We don't know where the girls are. Neither, apparently, does he.

A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, aka "the teddy bear bee," buzzed into our mustard patch Sunday and nectared on the blossoms for about 10 minutes.

Often mistaken for a "new species" of bumble bee--well, it's about the size of a bumble bee--the teddy bear bee is a lavish golden color with sea-green eyes. The female of the species is a solid black metallic color with dark eyes. Sexual dimorphism at its finest...

Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, often showcases the teddy bear bee at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open houses, including the annual UC Davis Picnic Day.   This year, the 104th annual, takes place on Saturday, April 21.

When apprehensive youngsters see the bee in his hands, he assures them  "Boy bees don't sting."

They don't, but sometimes they posture as if they do...