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or carpenter bees, a subfamily of insects of the family Apidae (bees). They are similar to bumblebees. They are large (26-28 mm), and coloration may be black, dark blue, or dark violet, often with metallic hues. There are about 300 species, found chiefly in the tropics. In the USSR there are 16 species. The female eats into wood, making a passage (reaching 30 cm in length) which she divides into cells, and lays one egg in each cell. In the southern USSR the violet carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea) is common.