What is a Carpenter Bee?

Carpenter Bees 

Carpenter Bees

 

Carpenter bees are solitary bees. They build nests just for themselves and only feed their own young. They get their name from their ability to drill through wood. Carpenter bee stingers are not barbed, so they are able to sting over and over again.

 

  • Size: 1"
  • Shape: Oval, bee shaped
  • Color: Blue-black
  • Legs: 6
  • Wings: Yes
  • Antenna: Yes
  • Common Name: Carpenter bee
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Family: Apidae
  • Species: Xylocopa

 

Diet:

Worker bees gather both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony.

 

Habitat:

Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop. Female carpenter bees will chew a tunnel into a piece of wood to build a nest gallery. The bits of wood she chews and deposits outside the nest are called "frass". The tunnel openings usually look about one or two inches deep, but they can be up to 10 feet long! These tunnels usually have several rooms where the bees hold their eggs and food.

 

Impact:

Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can do cosmetic damage to the wood where they build their nests. Carpenter bees are beneficial because they pollinate plants that are ignored by Honeybees.

 

Prevention:

  • Carpenter bees can drill into almost any wood, but prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes deter them.
  • However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, and their nests can be hard to reach, so a pest management professional or beekeeper should be called in to help.