The Giant Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa latipes) is a native of Borneo and we found this spectacular specimen in Sarawak a few years ago. The Giant Bee reaches 35mm in length and is built like a tank. On body bulk it is the biggest bee in the world but for length is outclassed by the Giant Mason Bee (Megachile pluto) which is found in the Northern Moluccas and can grow to 40mm. However it’s a more slender beast and the Giant Carpenter Bee has a good case to argue for title of world’s biggest bee. As the name suggests they excavate their nests from timber and nest entrances are recorded up to 2cm in diameter. It seems likely that my picture shows a male Carpenter Bee surveying his domain from his territorial perch.

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