American carpenter bee crosses Atlantic to Netherlands

This 2009 video from the USA says about itself:

The Eastern Carpenter Bee is often confused with a bumblebee, but has a shiny black abdomen, as opposed to the fuzzy abdomen of the bumblebee. There are over 500 species of carpenter bee around the world and this is the most common one in the eastern United States.

The female is the workhorse of the relationship. She makes a nest by tunneling into wood. Unlike termites, the bees do not eat the wood. They discard the bits or use them to make walls in their nests.

The nest is used as a nursery for the young and a place to store pollen. The female carpenter bee spends her time building the nest, collecting pollen for her brood and laying eggs.

Meanwhile, the male feeds himself and spends time hovering in his territory and protecting it from other males.

These bees are not aggressive and males do not even have stingers. The couple and their young will spend the winter in their nests and emerge in the spring.

They can be considered pests because they burrow into the soft, exposed wood of peoples’ homes. However, they have an important role in pollinating the food we eat and the beautiful flowers we enjoy.”

Translated from EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten in the Netherlands today:

12-JUN-2020 – On a weekday morning, Bram ter Keurs saw a very big bee in his backyard. It turned out to be an eastern carpenter bee: a North American bee species that had never been seen in our country before. It has undoubtedly ended up in the Netherlands through human intervention. If this happens more often, there is a possibility that this spectacular species will gain a foothold.

The discoverer tells

“On June 10, 2020, I am in my backyard in Bunnik (Utrecht province) around 10:45 AM. The sun is shining and it is almost windless. I see an exceptionally large bee foraging on red valerian (Centranthus ruber), purpletop vervain (Verbena bonariensis) and rose campion (Lychnis coronaria). Because of the size and the glossy black abdomen, I immediately think of the violet carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea). The tip of the wings is smokey grey. After several photos, the bee flies away in a northerly direction.” It soon became clear that this was a female of the eastern carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica). …

Timber trade

The eastern carpenter bee is native to North America. Only a few sightings are known in Northwestern Europe, including one in England in 1996 and one in West Flanders in 2015. These animals are believed to have been carried with wood from North America. A kilometer southeast of the site in Bunnik is a timber business that also imports timber from North America. This may be the source of this observation.

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