Table of Contents
- 1 WHAT ARE CARPENTER BEES?
- 2 CARPENTER BEES VS. BUMBLEBEES
- 3 DO CARPENTER BEES STING?
- 4 WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE STUNG BY A CARPENTER BEE
- 5 CALL JOSHUA PEST CONTROL FOR HELP WITH CARPENTER BEES
- 6 SOURCES
- 7 Author Bio
Carpenter bees (Xylocopa virginica) are large bees that are sometimes confused with bumblebees. However, carpenter bees have a different wing shape than bumblebees and are often found around wood, which they will bore into to lay their eggs. Some carpenter bees may potentially sting, so it’s important to learn about them so you can help protect your loved ones and home.
WHAT ARE CARPENTER BEES?
Carpenter bees, also known as Xylocopa virginica, are chubby, heavy-bodied bees. These bees are around an inch long and have shiny black bodies. They also have yellow or orange hair on their thoraxes, and there is often a black dot in the middle of their backs.
You may have seen carpenter bees before if you have a home with a wooded area around it or if parts of your home are made of wood. Why? These bees enjoy burrowing into the wood to build their nests.
Some common places where you’ll find carpenter bees include:
- Log frame homes
- Ends of logs
- Wooden decks or porches
- Wood siding
You’ll know that you have carpenter bees if you can see holes in the wood. Usually, the holes are around half an inch in diameter and are completely circular. Though plump, these bees can get inside a hole that size to make a tunnel and lay their eggs.
Be aware that carpenter bees are bad news for your wood. They can cause significant damage to your home or any wood they get into.
CARPENTER BEES VS. BUMBLEBEES
Carpenter bees may look like bumblebees from afar, which makes it less likely for people to take steps to get rid of them. These pests are different, though, and it’s important to be able to tell them apart to protect your property.
Here’s how to tell the difference between carpenter bees and bumblebees:
Scientific Name: Xylocopa virginica
WHAT DO CARPENTER BEES EAT?
WHAT DO CARPENTER BEES LOOK LIKE?
Carpenter bees have a fuzzy thorax that is yellow or orange. There may be a black dot in the middle. They have brown-tinted wings as long as their body. The abdomen is shiny and black. They look very chubby and solid.
HOW BIG ARE CARPENTER BEES?
Adult carpenter bees are around an inch long.
WHERE DO CARPENTER BEES LIVE?
Carpenter bees normally stay around wooded areas, like wooden decks or logs. They make their homes by creating small holes and tunnels in wood.
Scientific Name: Bombus spp.
WHAT DO BUMBLEBEES EAT?
Bumblebees eat nectar and pollen from the plants they visit.
WHAT DO BUMBLEBEES LOOK LIKE?
Bumblebees are stout and hairy. Their entire bodies are fuzzy, and they have yellow and black stripes all the way down the thorax and abdomen. The wings are more petite and clear. They make a buzzing sound.
HOW BIG ARE BUMBLEBEES?
Adult bumblebees are around a half-inch to one-and-a-half inches long.
WHERE DO BUMBLEBEES LIVE?
Bumblebees usually hang out on flowers. They sometimes nest inside attics or in storage sheds. Their nests can be above or below the ground since they sometimes take over old nests from rodents who used to live underground.
DO CARPENTER BEES STING?
Carpenter bees have the potential to sting but only if they’re female. The males do not have stingers. Males are normally the bees you come into contact with since they’re the bees who protect the nest.
Just like bumblebees, female carpenter bees will only sting if they’re provoked in some way. Usually, they’ll leave you alone unless you try to handle them. Even then, they may not sting unless they feel threatened.
Carpenter bees can survive if they sting, so don’t be surprised if an angry female is able to sting more than once. The likelihood of that happening is very low, however, since they’re usually inside their nests. It’s much more common to see a male carpenter bee swoop at you (or even hit you like a dart) as they have no stinger to defend themselves. If that happens, calmly walk away from the area. If you bat at the male bees, they may follow.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE STUNG BY A CARPENTER BEE
If you’ve been stung by a carpenter bee, don’t panic. You need to treat the area by first checking to see if the stinger is still in your skin. If it is, you’ll want to remove it as soon as you can to stop the spread of the venom known as melittin. Depending on how deep the stinger is, you may be able to remove it with your fingernail or a pair of tweezers.
Melittin is what makes the sting feel irritating. It may cause a burning sensation or pain around the site of the sting. You can expect the area around the sting to swell up and look red.
After you remove the stinger, don’t touch the site of the sting again unless it is with soap and water. You should not cover the site, either, since fresh air can help it feel better sooner. For particularly bad stings that are painful or swollen enough to cause functional issues, try using an ice pack. Standard pain medications, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may also help reduce swelling and get you feeling better quicker.
BEE STING ALLERGIES
There is a chance that you could be allergic to a sting from a carpenter bee if you’re normally allergic to other kinds of bee stings. If that is the case, make sure you follow your medical plan, such as taking an antihistamine or using epinephrine. Get medical attention as soon as possible.
If you’ve never been stung before, the signs of an allergic reaction to a carpenter bee sting may include:
- Trouble breathing
- Feeling tightness in your throat
- Swelling in the mouth
- Rapid heartbeat
Since allergic reactions are sometimes life-threatening, you should call 911 if you begin to show any of the symptoms mentioned above. They could be a sign of anaphylaxis.
CALL JOSHUA PEST CONTROL FOR HELP WITH CARPENTER BEES
Carpenter bees are large bees that can damage your home and possibly injure your family members and other guests who get too close to them. If these pests are bothering you, our team of experts will be happy to help discuss ways to get rid of carpenter bees and make your home and property less appealing to them in the future. Give us a call today to secure your home against destructure pests.
Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!