Trying to identify LARGE bees

aprilallyear(8 (edge of 7))April 22, 2006

Well, last summer a LARGE bumble appeared outside my dining window. The "yard" there is ~5 feet across, bounded on the other side by a wooden fence. It hovered, like a shark in moving water, it seemed, where the breeze came between the house and fence. As ANY bug, bird, etc., flew nearby, it zoomed off AFTER said invader, and then immediately flew back to its position.

Since it flew away whenever I had to go near, I decided to watch and enjoy.

About a month ago, it (or one) appeared in the same spot, same behavior. Then, a week later, a second, which seemed to be an "invader" as the first did NOT like the 2nd and zoomed after it over and over. I figured it got tired, and hence allowed said intruder to hand sometimes nearby (although I also noticed some perching on the wooden fence by the 2nd).

Now, suddenly, we have 4. Did I say they are LARGE?

What are they? I posted up some photos in the gallery, not very clear because I take them from inside (they zoom off when I go out).

Should I be worried? (I read the Canadian LARGE bee post).

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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

This sounds more like hummingbird behavior - are you sure they aren't birds? Some of the young are extremely tiny after hatching.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 10:46AM
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What you might be seeing is a Carpenter bee (at least that is what they look like from your picture. They also love wood). It is a solitary bee and it can grow very large. Also, the males have a lot of bravado and have been know to "dive bomb" people and others they consider in their way. But the males only do it "for show" as they are completely harmless and have no stinger (instrinsic in the bee family). The females do have stingers, though, but are generally good-natured and will only sting if provoked.

I see a myriad of them at the garden park I am a member of and got to appreciate seeing them up close on the flowers. Usually when they are foraging, the males keep to themselves. But I have had a couple of them try to buzz around me if I got too close.

Here is a link to some other Carpenter bee images. Does your bee visitor resemble any of these as well?

Carpentar bee image 1 (with bumble bee comparison at bottom)-

Carpentar bee image 2 -


    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 5:20AM
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aprilallyear(8 (edge of 7))

Hmmm... Looks more like the bumblebee in the first link, selocic, but acts just like the carpenter bee (and, I might add, is suspiciously interested in the wooden fence it hovers near). But it really is very hairy, lush, and FAT in comparison to the pictures. The second link looks more like mine, but the wings look a little narrow and dark.

I am moving at the end of the month, and am sad to think these will be "dealt with" by new tenants/management company. Maybe there will be some to greet me in my new home, which comes with an ancient fence...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 10:29AM
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aprilallyear(8 (edge of 7))

Bejay, I am sure these are bees. And, you're right, the behavior is JUST like a hummer who staked out my mom's yard/tree once. We still laugh about that little guy, who was so busy defending his space we didn't think he ever had a chance to enjoy her lovely yard with hummer food that was, he thought, all his to enjoy and protect.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 10:32AM
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We have a big bee issue as well. We live in Southern NH and have been seeing Very large bee, one and a half to two inches (no Joke). It is shaped like a honey bee, and is striped as well but not velvety. And here is the strangest part, we only see it at night and it is attracted to lights. It will bang against a lighted window or fly around an outside light. There has been only one to two at a time, but I must say, because of the size of them, that is enough !!
Any ideas as to what kind they are and should we be concerned?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 6:07AM
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I have seen a very large bee that someone said was a "good news bee". I can't find anything on it. It has yellow and light brown body stripes. We also have seen carpenter bees and cicada killers (Very, very large hornet-like), but this is different. Does anyone know what it is?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 3:27PM
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stevenwayne(6 sw)
    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 7:44AM
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Hi, this is the second year that I've noticed a VERY large bee like insect that looks more like a cross between a bee and a beetle. They display bee like behavior feeding on flowers but they gather in a sworm that seems very threatning. They hover like humming birds, but I know them well and I'm pretty sure they're not birds; more like an overgrown bees. Does anyone know what these are? Are they to worry about? Thanks! Paul.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 10:44AM
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This morning I saw a cicada killer chasing a hummingbird away from the feeder and I haven't seen the hummer come back yet. Will he return or do they harm the hummers in any way?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Maybe an i.d. guide would help? There are several on the web but the species would vary depending on where you live...
and for native bees in the Northeast in general:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:14PM
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