Carpenter-mimic leafcutter bee (Megachile xylocopoides)

Megachilidae > Megachile > Megachile xylocopoides

Carpenter-mimic leafcutter bee (Megachile xylocopoides) is a large, glossy black megachilid. It can be found throughout the summer on asters like coreopsis, sunflowers, and goldenrods in gardens and backyards. M. xylocopoides is a straightforward field identification: it hardly resembles another megachilid in the northeast. Rather, its model is the southern carpenter bee (Xylocopa micans), which does not occur north of Virginia.


Emergence in early summer, and active from June through September. One to two generations per year. 


Mid-Atlantic, extending only into northern New Jersey. No records from New York City or north. Most of its range is in the southeastern coastal plain and gulf coast states, where it co-occurs with its model Xylocopa micans.


Size >honey bee

Females are large and chunky, evenly wide down length of body. Entirely black. Dark blue wings, held out while foraging. Abdominal scopal hairs often full of yellow aster pollen, and abdomen held up during foraging.

Males are not entirely glossy black and more slender than females. Pale hairs on face, basal side of thorax and first abdominal segment. Dark wings, held out while foraging. Modified front tarsi appear as big mitts or gloves fringed in white hair.

Similar species

  • True to its name, resembles a small female Xylocopa micans (which does not occur in the northeast), but with abdominal scopal hairs.
  • Melissodes bimaculatus have white scopal hairs on their hind legs and keep their wings folded while foraging.


Above-ground cavity nesting. Known to occupy trap nests and bee hotels.


Asteraceae, including coreopsis (Coreopsis), beggarstick (Bidens), sunflowers (Helianthus), and goldenrod (Solidago).

Natural Enemies

Coelioxys dolichos is a cleptoparasite. Leucospis affinis wasps are also known to parasitize nests.

Page last updated:
January 17, 2023