The common name carpenter bee derives from their nesting behaviour; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. Common to France and southern Europe, the French entomologist Pierre André Latreille first described the genus in 1802. He derived the name from the Ancient Greek xylokopos – wood-cutter. The genus Xylocopa includes some 500 bees in 31 subgenera. Most species are all black, or primarily black with some yellow or white pubescence. They are a similar size to bumble bees, but very different, living solitary lives and not in colonies.
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