Xylocopa virginica is found in Eastern, Central, and Southern United States as well as Southern regions of Canada (Barrows 1983). More specifically, they can be found anywhere from Texas to Florida and also from southern Ontario to Maine, as shown in the map (Richards 2011).

    The nests that these bees create are very important aspect of their reproductive and survival success. Females take on the role of making the nest and will often inhabit this nest over their lifetime. However, if they choose to not return to that nest, they will often construct a new nest in a similar location (Gerling and Hermann 1978). Having a familiar nest allows for recognition and avoidance of aggression towards nestmates. Being able to distinguish between nestmates and non-nestmates enables X. virginica to use their energy productively to benefit the nest (Peso and Richards 2010). To delve into more detail, visit the
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    The Eastern Carpenter Bee requires a fairly specific niche. This bee prefers to live in soft wood and more specifically has been found to live in dead trees, logs, wooden benches, and picnic tables (Barrows 1983). While they do choose wood as a habitat, these organisms will not nest in wood that has been painted or otherwise altered by humans (BugGuide 2013). This habitat preference resembles that of Xylocopa varipuncta, the Valley Carpenter Bee. To learn more about this organism click here.
    These bees make distinctive circular holes that serve as the entrance of their nest. X. virginica burrow through the wood, creating tunnels approximately 44.45 cm in length. Their tunnels often run with the grain of the wood creating parallel nests that do not intersect with another female's nest (Gerling and Hermann 1978). As they create the tunnel, they do not ingest the wood they are gnawing through. Instead, they use the chewed wood to support their nest (Encyclopedia of Life 2013).

    The nest serves multiple functions for the Eastern Carpenter Bee. One of the functions includes laying their eggs in the nest. After the eggs are laid, the female places nectar to nourish the developing offspring. She then uses the chewed wood to create a wall which separates the eggs and the nectar from the rest of the nest (North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences 2013).The nest provides shelter for the offspring after hatching. They remain in the nest for two to three weeks (Gerling and Hermann 1978). The nest not only provides shelter for the offspring, but also for the overwintering adult X. virginica. During the warmer months, both male and female Eastern Carpenter Bees spend a large amount of time out of nest foraging for food to prepare for the winter (Prager and Richardson 2012).

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