Violet Carpenter Bee Is Germany’s Pollinator Of The Year

A pollinator nicknamed the ‘Gentle Giant’ has been named solitary bee of the year in Germany in a bid to raise awareness for its precarious situation.

The country’s Wild Bee of the Year Committee, which consists of experts from the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart among other institutions, opted for the violet carpenter bee for the 2024 edition of the award.

The solitary pollinator, also known as Xylocopa violacea, is often mistaken for a bumblebee due to its bluish wings and its impressive body length of up to three centimetres (0.78 inches).

The award committee, which was formed in 2013, explained: “Violet carpenter bees prefer warm habitats but they are not picky when it comes to pollen sources.”

Picture shows Xylocopa violacea, undated. One of the insects that thrive in urbanised regions is the violet carpenter bee, a solitary pollinator which is often mistaken for a bumblebee due to its remarkable body length of up to 25 millimetres. (NewsX/Bee)

Violet carpenter bee habitats are often diminished by construction projects and the usage of chemical agents.

For many years, the bee species has been a common sight in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg.

However, the violet carpenter bee, which builds its nests in deadwood, expanded its habitat far into northern Germany. It now also exists in Denmark, according to the German Wild Bee of the Year Committee.

In 2022, researchers from the Goethe University and the LOEWE Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics in the Hessian city of Frankfurt announced that the venomous substance produced by violet carpenter bees could have a “promising effect on breast cancer cells.”

The scientists compared different melittin variants to find out more about the effectiveness of the substance when it comes to treating human illnesses such as cancer. The team of researchers plan to carry out further investigations on the topic.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. The German Cancer Cancer Society reports that around 69,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the country each year.

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