Carpenter Bees

Xylocopa spp.

Color: Yellow and black
Shape Robust, oval
Size 1/2 – 1 inch long
Region Found throughout the U.S.

Overview

Carpenter bees get their common name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for rearing their young. Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees, but their abdomens are largely bare and shiny.

Habits

Carpenter bees are not social insects and do not live in nests or colonies. The adults over-winter, typically in abandoned nest tunnels. In the spring, they emerge and feed on nectar. To excavate galleries, female carpenter bees bore circular holes the same diameter as their bodies straight into wood, and then turn to tunnel along the grain of the wood.

Threats

Carpenter bees are a serious property threat and can cause structural damage over time if left untreated. They prefer weathered and unpainted wood. Male carpenter bees can be territorial and may hover in front of one’s face aggressively, but they have no stinger and these actions are merely for show. Female carpenter bees do have a potent sting, but it is rarely used.

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