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Pest Guide > Stinging / Biting > Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees

Xylocopa species

Carpenter bees look like typical bumblebees but often lack yellow stripes. They are solitary bees.

Color: Blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen on abdomen
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval; bee shape
Size: 1
Antennae: Yes

Habits

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. He does not have a stinger, but his constant buzzing causes concern for some.

Habitat

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

Threats

Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can damage wood through their nest building.

Prevention

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.
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