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carpenter bee resting on wood surface


Carpenter bees are a large species of bee. Depending on their species, they can range in size from ¼ to 1 inch in length. Their body is oval with a robust appearance to it. Carpenter bees are very often confused with bumble bees because both species are black and yellow and have an overall fuzzy look to them. Unlike bumble bees, however, carpenter bees lack stripes and have a smooth, hairless abdomen.

Biology and Behavior

carpenter bee excavating in wood

  • Carpenter bees do not eat the wood that they create their nesting areas in. They excavate it from the area leaving piles of wood shavings underneath the entrance.

  • To create a new gallery, the female carpenter bee expertly creates a hole about 3/8th - ½ of an inch in diameter.  She then tunnels with the grain through the wood.

  • Carpenter bees are a solitary species; each female carpenter bee creates her own nest, but several carpenter bees may choose the same piece of wood or area to nest in.

  • Carpenter bees often choose to return to the same area year after year.

  • They prefer to nest in soft woods that are unpainted, unstained, or that are weathered. Decks, porches, sheds, roof eaves, wooden shingles, wooden furniture, and wooden play structures are often nesting sites for carpenter bees.

  • Carpenter bee tunnels can cause structural damage to pieces of wood; however, it is actually woodpeckers that can cause most of the damage to the wood. They peck at the hole the bees have created to feed on the eggs.

  • Carpenter bee females have a stinger and their venom is strong enough to cause an allergic reaction in a person. However, the females are very shy and rarely sting.

  • Male carpenter bees do not have a stinger. They are responsible for guarding the nest. To protect the nest they very aggressively fly around any perceived threat to drive them away.

Carpenter Bee Prevention Tips

  • Paint, stain, or treat any wooden structures that are located on your property.

  • Though carpenter bees can attack any type of wood, they prefer soft wood; if possible use hardwoods to create structures on your property.

  • Routinely inspect wooden structures for holes and other signs of carpenter bee activity.

Action's Carpenter Bee Control Services


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