Giant French Bee

This giant black bee, the European Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa violacea), here seen in the outskirts of the Massif de l'Esterel, is the largest bee in Europe (comparing it to an ordinary honey bee is like comparing a Boeing 747 to a Learjet). Lately it has made a succesful airborne invasion of the UK, and is now close to the Scottish border. In spite of its rather frightening looks it is not aggressive, and only stings if grasped (but then the sting corresponds to its size).


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Marcsoltan - Oct 25, 2008 11:03 am - Voted 10/10

Thank you Ejnar

for taking this photo. I have a question. How large is this bee in millimeters, or inches? It does not have to be exact.
Thank you,
Marc Soltan

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - Oct 25, 2008 11:09 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Thank you Ejnar

I would guess that its wingspan reaches 5 or 6 cm, but it would be impossible to decide precisely without catching and killing one.


lcarreau - Oct 27, 2008 8:57 pm - Voted 10/10

I believe there might "bee"

a regulation against catching and killing a
"Giant French Bee." Are these bees protected?

Nice bee picture ... I was just giving you a
hard time, Ejnar. 10/10 vote, especially for the comparison between the Boeing 747 and

Don't they make a Boeing 757 now ???

Larry :)

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - Oct 28, 2008 11:15 am - Hasn't voted

Re: I believe there might

I don't know if they are protected, it doesn't seem necessary, there were more than 50 around, when I took the photo, and of course now they are expanding into Britain. Capturing one and killing it would involve using a butterfly net, and transferring it into a jar with ethyl acetate or potassium cyanide, where it would soon die. Most likely this might involve considerable risk of being stung, and I don't think I'm going to try it! :-)


lcarreau - Oct 28, 2008 7:52 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: I believe there might

Indeed! It would "bee" to the Giant French
Bee's ANT-vantage to 'BEEhave' itself once it "invades" Britain.

First it was the "British (Beatles) Invasion." Now, it's the Giant French Bee's
turn to make itself KNOWN.

Geez, some things never change! :)

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - Nov 9, 2011 11:08 am - Hasn't voted

Thank you,

Roberto. It is a little difficult to estimate the length of the bee from this photo, though, since the abdomen is bent down.

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