What Does a Carpenter Bee Look Like?

Carpenter bees look a lot like bumble bees. They are large insects with yellow and black coloring. They are about an inch in size, and in the right light, you can often see metallic reflections with blue, green, or purple coloring. While bumble bees have hairy abdomens, carpenter bees have shiny abdomens.

Do Carpenter Bees Make Nests?

Unlike other bees, carpenter bees do not build or live in nests. Instead, female carpenter bees will drill holes into soft wood. 

Some of Their Favorite Include Unpainted, Weathered Wood On:

Do Carpenter Bees Build Tunnels?

Carpenter bees take the little wood chips their drilling creates to form divided cells in which they can lay eggs and protect their larvae until they are ready to live on their own. You may see small mounds of sawdust around the carpenter bee entrances to wood when a bee creates a new tunnel, but bees will also re-use old tunnels as boring tunnels through wood is a lot of work.

What Do Carpenter Bees Eat?

Like most bees, carpenter bees feed on the pollen and nectar from plants. When females are creating divided cells within their excavated wood tunnels, they place a ball of pollen in each cell for their larvae to feed on.

Do Carpenter Bees Live in Colonies? 

No, the primary difference between carpenter bees and other types of bees is that carpenter bees are solitary insects and  theydo not live in colonies with other bees. While typically considered solitary, some female carpenter bees may live with their daughters or sisters to share in the work and thus forming a small, basic social group. 

Do Carpenter Bees Sting?

 While female carpenter bees have potent stingers, they rarely use them, and male carpenter bees don’t even have stingers! Males can become very aggressive and fly at your face when defending their territory, which is surprising but since they don’t have stingers there isn’t much they can do beyond that. 

Do Carpenter Bees Cause Damage?

Carpenter bees pose more of a threat to property than they do to humans. When the bees bore holes through wood it can cause structural damages, in addition to leaving excrement and accumulations of sawdust around their entrance holes. Carpenter bees attract woodpeckers, so if you have carpenter bees living in your structure, the woodpeckers may also come and riddle the wood with holes trying to get the immature stages of carpenter bees inside.

How to Prevent Carpenter Bees