I am fairly sure it is one of the carpenter bees, of which there are many, in the subfamily Xylocopinae.
Yours is probably in the Xylocopini tribe. That also means it is probably in the genus Xylocopa.
Probably the most well-known is Xylocopa violacea (which has no yellow).
I don't have a good list of bees and wasps for Cyprus, so doing some research...
Some of the Cyprus fauna is shared with Turkey, and Turkey has ten species of Xylocopa. The most common are Xx. violacea, valga, iris but none of those have a yellow thorax; ditto X. fenestrata. X. olivieri does occur in Cyprus but it has a brown-buff thorax and striped abdomen, so that's ruled out. Xx. parviceps, armeniaca, rufa are ruled out by distribution.
There are quite a lot of species of Xylocopa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpenter_bee), and several of them have a yellow thorax, eg. Xx. appendiculata circumvolans, sulcatipes, but those do not occur in Cyprus.
(...much more research...)
My best guess is Xylocopa pubescens. It occurs in the eastern Mediterranean (including Syria and Israel) but I have no actual records for it in Cyprus.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2OCpWl2Pso (good video; just like your specimen)
I wish I had access to G.A. Mavromoustakis' 'The bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) of Cyprus', in multiple parts, eg. Journal of Natural History: Series 12, Volume 10, Issue 113, 1957, pp.321-337
Thank you very much for your research and response. I've been in Cyprus for 5 years and this is the first time I'm seeing this kind of bee. This is definitely a male xylocopa pubescens. I released it last night after the video and this post : ) Even though it's harmless, it's very aggressive. I hope I won't see him around again : ))
Would you mind sending me an email, please?
I, too, live in Cyprus.
I'm trying to pursue this issue of X. pubescens in Cyprus with some experts, and I might want to get in touch with you.
Please use <email address removed by Mike Hardman>, temporarily.
I am sorry to be years behind the curve with this. However, I am working with colleagues in Cyprus to re-evaluate the work of George Mavromoustakis and look at what he found again, to revisit his collecting sites and to build up a database of Cyprus bees with the aim of publishing a "Bees of Cyprus" annotated checklist.
He never found X. pubescens in Cyprus BUT there are a number of records of the bee from the last few years - indeed I saw several specimens last week when I was in Limassol working on the Cyprus bee fauna
I would be very keen to know the details of any and all records of Xylocopa pubescens from the island,
There are 4 species of Xylocopa known in CY:
X. violacea (Large all black with violet reflexions in the wings)
X. iris (much smaller, all black with faint violet reflexions in the wings)
X. pubescens (Black with yellow pubescence on the thorax)
and X. olivieri (A dusk flying species, brownish in colour.)
Thanks for your info on Xylocopa in Cyprus.
I suggest you email Eddie John, who runs the Cyprus Butterflies web site. More importantly regarding your question, he is one of the editors of a forthcoming book on the wildlife of Cyprus, to which many experts have contributed. Eddie should be able to put you in touch with the expert covering bees.
You'll find Eddie's email address here - http://www.cyprusbutterflies.co.uk/