I noticed Anna’s Hummingbirds flitting about the Jasmine flowers in the California backyard, but they didn’t really look like they were foraging on them. However, gigantic black bees were definitely probing the flowers in a consistent manner, flying from clump to clump, staying longer at some before moving on.
These large carpenter bees can be mistaken for bumblebees, but most have shiny black abdomens while bumblebee butts are usually covered with dense hair.
Carpenter bees often forage on open flowers like poppies, but these flowers have a 1/2 inch long corolla with a smidge of nectar at the base. Rather than insert its head into the flower and mop up the scanty nectar with its tongue, it seems that the bee is slitting the corolla of the flower at its base to go directly to the source.
They get their name from their habit of burrowing into decaying wood to create nest chambers, carving the holes by vibrating their bodies while rasping away at the wood with their mandibles. It sounds like a long, tedious process. Typically a single female creates just her own brood chamber, but multiple females may nest gregariously together in the same wooden structure.