Carpenter bees are among the largest native bees across the United States. There are several species of carpenter bees which can be found in temperate, subtropical and tropical ecosystems. From Arizona, Florida to New York – they thrive across different ecosystems. 

What do carpenter bees look like?

Carpenter bees may look like bumblebees. But if you take a closer look, you will notice that carpenter bees have black abdomens that are smooth. If you look at the abdomen of bumblebees, you will see that they’re furry and not smooth. Besides, carpenter bees have black and shiny bodies whereas bumblebees have yellow markings.

Why are they called “carpenter” bees?

These bees were named after their habit of excavating inside different types of wood in order to create  galleries. These excavated wooden galleries will serve as nests where they would lay their giant eggs. Their eggs can be as big as  10 mm long. On the outside, you may think that the wood simply has holes, but if you’d take a closer look inside it these galleries were neatly designed cylindrical holes. 

They use their strong mandibles when choosing into wood. Some of the most common types of wood that they usually bore their holes into as nests are redwood and other soft aged trees. They also love to nest in reed-like plants that have pithy and soft interiors. 

How old is an adult carpenter bee?

Carpenter bees that are about seven weeks old are considered adults. However, their developmental stage may also vary depending on the conditions surrounding them. Carpenter bees that have reached adulthood are most likely found staying inside their galleries for weeks. They will only leave the brood cells during the months of April or May.  

When do they usually come out to pollinate?

These adult carpenter bees will hibernate in winter and only when spring comes that they emerge once again, becoming such a nuisance for many homeowners. 

Unlike honey bees, carpenter bees are not social bees but would prefer living a solitary life. Each carpenter bee creates his own tunnel which means they don’t live together with others. 

In most cases, carpenter bees have a lifespan of about one year. Although this may also change depending on a lot of environmental factors. When there’s a new batch of carpenter bees that emerge from nests around August or September, they would go out to grow, feed and pollinate one flower after another. Then, they hibernate once winter comes. 

Do carpenter bees sting?

If you notice a carpenter bee aggressively buzzing toward you, chances are it’s a male carpenter bee. The male carpenter bees may act too aggressive but in reality, they don’t sting at all. Their aggressive buzzing and darting only serve as their defense mechanism.

Female carpenter bees are the ones that have venom and are capable of stinging a person more than once. However, they often stay close to the nests of their eggs so the chances of having an unwanted encounter with them would be slim, unless you do something to get close to them and destroy their nests. 

What are the signs of carpenter bee infestation?


Some of the signs of carpenter bee infestation is the presence of frass near or within wooden structures which are caused by their drilled holes. Frass are essentially made of sawdusts that were left behind by carpenter bees below or near the site where they have burrowed their tunnels. 

Frass or sawdusts can also be seen clinging into window frames, doors or surfaces of any wooden structure. However, frass can also be a sign of termite activity. Therefore, don’t rely on this sign when determining the presence of bee infestation. 


Another sign would be bee excrements or pollen near the openings or tunnels they created. So, if you see some yellow-brown stains on the surfaces of your wooden furniture, chances are carpenter bee infestation is present. 


Another tell-tale sign of carpenter bee infestation is the presence of entrance holes in wooden structures that are about half inch in diameter. You will see them in the porches, decks, eaves and siding and roofing structures of people’s homes. 

These carpenter bees may not be as destructive as termites, but if left unabated, they could also cause significant damage to your wood structures at home. They will continue to bore holes that go deeper and deeper thereby damaging the integrity of your wooden structure. 

Lastly, you will know that carpenter bees are already residing within your property when you see several of them buzzing around in the same location of about a small square footage. Note that these are solitary bees, so you cannot expect to see these carpenter bees building their colonies because they work independently alone. 

Don’t wait for your eaves, porches or decks to collapse. Take action right away. Once you have confirmed the presence of carpenter bee infestation in your property, call the services of a bee removal company. This way, you can be assured that these bees will be safely removed, without the need to use harmful chemicals. 

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