Carpenter Bees

Overview

Carpenter bees will fly at you to scare you, and although intimidating, they are not generally considered dangerous. Carpenter Bees are also very unlikely to sting you, unlike the Bumble Bee. You can easily distinguish a Carpenter Bee from a Bumble Bee by the way they fly. Bumble bees fly like you would typically think of a bee flying (smooth flight from one location to the next). Carpenter bees, on the hand, have very erratic flight patterns, and dart around with sharp turns and hover like a helicopter. This flight is nothing like the flight of any other bee.

Carpenter bees drill perfectly round holes approx. 1/2" diameter into wood on facial plates, soffits, and wooden decks (under railings). A brownish stain is left behind which drips down below the areas where they have drilled holes. Carpenter Bees are usually a problem between the months of April and July.

Identification

Carpenter Bees are very large and round (1/2" - 1"). They are black and yellow and are often confused with bumble bees due to their very similar appearance. They differ from bumble bees in that the last segment of the body (abdomen) is hairless and shiny black. Bumble bees on the other hand have this portion of the body covered with black fuzzy hair that looks like velvet. Also bumble bees do not "drill" holes into exposed wood.