The Golden-green Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa aerata).is one of Australia’s most spectacular bees, and the largest bee on the NSW South Coast. This beautiful metallic green be is friendly and harmless, often signalling its arrival with a loud humming sound.
This species was badly affected by the 2020 bushfire and experts report it has not been seen much since, But a few have been sighted lately on the Budawang Coast, so keep an eye – or an ear – out for it.
Specific Nesting Requirements
Carpenter bees typically lay their eggs by burrowing into soft wood such as Xanthorrhoea (Grass-trees) or Banksia stems – in other words they practice carpentry. These 2 very different nest sites offer different opportunities that could be an advantage in less sever fires – Grass-trees often flower prolifically after a fire, but are not long-lasting. Banksias on the other hand are a longer-term resource, taking around seven years to mature to the point of being a suitable nest sites.
But in a severe fire when all the Banksias are killed, and there are insufficient Xanthorrhoea stalks afterwards, there will be no suitable nesting sites for some years. Specialised bee hotels which emulated Grass-tree stalks are being trialed in the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden.
An important pollinator, often seen in gardens
Xylocopa aerata pollinates many native shrubs, the pollen is collected mainly on the lower hind leg. It often frequents gardens, so if you see it – or maybe you will hear it first – make sure you snap a picture and log it on iNaturalist. Recent sightings have been in Broulee. Bawley Point, Ulladulla, and Jervis Bay.
The spectacular Golden-green Carpenter Bee was recently spotted at Bawley Point
Native Bees of the ACT and NSW:
A Spotter’s Guide
Peter Abbott introduces residents to the many and varied native bees in our region, and how to recognise then using easy visual clues.
- Available at a number of South Coast bookshops and online – see www.NativeBeesACT.net