Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 99-111

First online:

Biology and mating behavior of Xylocopa virginica L. (Hymenoptera, Anthophoridae)

  • Dan GerlingAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, The George S. Wise Center for Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University
  • , Henry R. HermannAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, University of Georgia

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The biology and behavior of Xylocopa virginica L. were followed in the area of Athens, Georgia (USA) from August 1973 until September 1974. Several nests were X-rayed regularly during the developmental period of the bees, and information about the life cycle and development was obtained. The bees emerge in June and stay in their nests with their sibs throughout the summer, fall, and winter, leaving only occasionally on warm days to search for nectar as food. In March and April males defend nest-side territories and mate with most females. The males die in the late spring and the females dig nests, provision them, and rear up to 8 or 9 bees in each nest. Many females live 2 years, and often 2 to 3 females are present in each nest, but only 1 works and lays eggs. Emergence of adults from pupae is nearly synchronized, irrespective of age.