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Description: Carpenter bees are large, black and yellow insects about 1 inch long. They resemble bumble bees but the abdomen (rear end) is black and shiny and does not have the extensive yellow hairs found on bumble bee abdomens. The females can sting but rarely do so unless molested. The males cannot sting.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees are traditionally considered solitary. They generally do not nest in colonies. They get their name from their habit of boring into wood to make homes to raise their young. They are close in appearance to the bumble bee. While bumble bees and Carpenter Bees are extremely similar in size and shape Carpenter Bees can be identified by their hairless and shiny abdomen, as bumble bees’ abdomens are covered by dense hair. Males have larger eyes and may have a white or yellow face.


Color: Black and yellow.
Shape: Oval.
Size: 1/2 – 1 inch long.
Food: Pollen and nectar gathered from flowers.
Habitat: Carpenter Bees are not social dwellers. They typically bore circular holes that are the same circumference as their bodies into wood and then begin to burrow along the grain of the wood.
Region: Various species found throughout the U.S.


Other Identifying Features:

  • Male Carpenter Bees have no stinger while females have a straight stinger that allows for repeated use.


  • May cause significant property damage if left untreated
  • Extremely territorial and may hover in front of one’s face aggressively
  • Females have a potent, if rarely used, sting
  • Stingers are not barbed so a Carpenter Bee will not die from a single sting and may sting repeatedly.
  • Tunnel openings may seem shallow but can be up to ten feet long. To prevent property damage, contact a licensed professional to handle removal.