a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

New Species of Yellow-Tailed Carpenter Bee


As you can clearly see this is a Yellow-Tailed Carpenter Bee, a hitherto unknown and undescribed species of Carpenter Bee.

Yellow-Tailed Carpenter Bee

No, only joking, the Yellow-Tailed Carpenter Bee doesn’t exist, but she did look authentic.

She does really look as if the yellow tail is part of her but I have been watching her nectar orgy in the dahlias and I know that it is just the rich yellow pollen of the dahlias that has adhered firmly to her posterior.

How to acquire a yellow tail

She is obviously a meticulous creature and retired to the shelter of the house wall to tidy up a bit and make herself more presentable.  My concern is that she is totally ignorant of the pollen stuck to her rear.  She spent a good deal of time and effort cleaning up all her face parts and sorting out her antenna but the problem at the other end was ignored.

A good wash and brush-up was needed

It does make me wonder if she is not one of these unfortunate creatures that is going to be an evolutionary dead-end.  I have seen many Carpenter Bees on the Wisteria, the Spanish Broom and Jasmine but I have never seen any on the Dahlias.

Happy days in the Jasmine

When Carpenter Bees feed on Wisteria they do not actually come into contact with the pollen, therefore, – no yellow bottoms.

Taking the Wisteria nectar

If I think she is different, what is a male Carpenter Bee going to think?  It could be a faux pas in Carpenter Bee protocol like getting the back of your skirt caught in your knickers. She will be doomed.  Her genes will stay stranded inside her unfertilised eggs.  Her predilection for Dahlia nectar will not be passed on to future generations of Carpenter Bees.

Perhaps the last of her line?

On the other hand the pollen might fall off in time for her to return to her seductive black form allowing her to raise plenty of Dahlia-appreciating offspring.

It will be up to me to keep an eye on my Dahlias next year and note if there is an increase in Yellow-Tailed Carpenter Bees.

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

10 thoughts on “New Species of Yellow-Tailed Carpenter Bee

  1. Ahem…she appears to be a he…Nice Hollywood movie pitch though 🙂


  2. very entertaining, and the photos are brilliant as usual.


  3. Beautiful photos, and the story was fun, too.


  4. Lovely! Yellow posteriors may be quite sexy in the bee world though… who knows?! 😉


  5. He he – this was great fun. He or she, the story is amusing. Made me chuckle. And the bee shots are lovely too. I wish we had these here.


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