"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Who’s got Beautiful Big Green Eyes then? Bee no 6.

I was going to paint the regular Carpenter Bee the one I see most of here but yesterday on the way home, on a straggly patch of horsemint, I noticed one that seemed to have slightly more gingery hair and a brighter blue sheen to its body, then I saw its eyes, its beautiful pale green/blue eyes. Wow…this is the male of Xylocopa micans,  the Southern Carpenter Bee.

carpenter bee sgreen eyessm

My only two half decent photos.. there is always something in the way !!

I read these are common in Florida so I probably just hadn’t noticed the subtle colour differences before.

The facts:

CLASS: Insecta
ORDER: Hymenoptera, Bees, wasps, ants and sawflies.
SUPERFAMILY: Apoidea. Bees and some wasps.
FAMILY: Apidae. Bees.
GENUS: Xylocopa. Large Carpenter Bees 
SPECIES: Xylocopa micans

The point of male carpenters having such huge eyes seems to be to help them spot females and also to fly in low light conditions.

PS. I really do sympathise with those whose houses have been drilled and perforated by these nice bees. It must be very frustrating. Trying to find an humane suggestion, it seems they don’t care for pressure-treated or painted wood. You can stuff the holes with wire wool which even they find a challenge and if you are a very noisy family they will move out. They don’t like noise. That’s probably why we didn’t see any in Spain.

..and just in case you thought I was joking yesterday about them being docile….

bee help

I had planned a quite different pose for the Carpenter Bee but the eyes have it, so a quick drawing to sort the pose out. 

micans sketch sm

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Bee No 6:The Southern Carpenter Bee Xylocpa micans

carpenter bee xylocopa  micans sm

7 comments:

Helen said...

Val, How interesting! The male carpenter bees in Toronto have a white face. Here, I posted on these guys back in June, with photos:

http://torontogardens.blogspot.com/2009/06/carpenter-bees-im-bee-leaver.html

Sheila said...

Very cool!

Jose Santos said...

Lovelly eyes!

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks very much all,he really is a super bee.
Helen that is really interesting. I love your post. We are like minded I think. The bee peering out of his untidy hole is wonderful.

Nature's RX Premium Horticultural Oil said...

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Nature's RX Premium Horticultural Oil by Greenthumb's Remedy
You may have heard the Garden Rebel talking about it a few weeks ago.
Safe and effective.

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks, Thats very interesting about the oil thank you..will check out Garden Rebel's post..

Jane said...

I now use your blog and flickr as a reference for the bees I see in the Keys. I think I saw this green-eyed beauty today. You might be able to confirm. http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturewatched/4414568829/ and flying http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturewatched/4414571221/ Not as ginger as your pic, so I might be totally wrong. Jane