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Carpenter beeCarpenter Bees

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Anthophoridae
Scientific Name: Xylocopa spp.
Color: Blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen on abdomen
Legs: Six
Shape: Oval; bee shape
Size: 1/2-1"
Antennae: Yes
Flight: Yes

Carpenter bees look like typical bumble bees but often lack yellow stripes. They are solitary bees, they do not live in colonies or nests. Carpenter bees can be found in all 50 States.

Unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects. 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 male carpenter bee guards the outside of the nest and is quite aggressive when humans approach. He does not have a stinger, but his constant buzzing causes concern for some.

Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop.

Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can damage wood through their nest building. Although the male has no stringer, the female does have a potent sting which is rarely used.

Carpenter bees prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes deter them. However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, so contact a pest control professional for assistance.

(Source: National Pest Management Association, et. al.)