Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee


Carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are large, robust bees known for their habit of burrowing into wood to create nesting sites. Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees in appearance but can be distinguished from them by their smooth, shiny abdomens. Carpenter bees are found worldwide, including North America where one common species is known as Xylocopa virginica.


  • Appearance: Carpenter bees have a robust, shiny black body. Males often have yellow or white faces, while females have all-black faces. They range in size from 0.5 to 1 inch.
  • Behavior: Unlike bumblebees, carpenter bees do not live in colonies. Females bore into wood to create nests, which consist of a series of small chambers where they lay their eggs.

Life Cycle

  1. Egg: Laid in individual chambers within the wood tunnels.
  2. Larva: Larvae develop inside the wood, feeding on pollen provided by the mother.
  3. Pupa: Pupation occurs within the wood tunnel.
  4. Adult: Adults emerge to forage for pollen and nectar, with the females returning to bore new nests.
pest profile Carpenter bee


  • Carpenter bees prefer untreated and unpainted wood for nesting. They commonly infest structures like eaves, decks, and wooden furniture.
  • They can be found in both urban and rural areas, often near gardens or forests.

Signs of Infestation

  • Bored Holes: Circular holes, about 1/2 inch in diameter, often found in wood surfaces.
  • Sawdust: Piles of sawdust (frass) beneath the holes, a result of the boring activity.
  • Bee Activity: Increased carpenter bee activity around wooden structures, especially in spring and early summer.


  • Structural Damage: While individual holes may not cause significant damage, extensive tunneling can weaken structural components over time.
  • Aesthetic Damage: The boring holes and sawdust can mar the appearance of wooden structures.

Prevention and Control

  • Paint and Seal Wood: Painting or sealing wood surfaces can deter carpenter bees from boring.
  • Wood Alternatives: Use non-wood materials like metal, plastic, or composite for structures prone to infestation.
  • Insecticide Treatment: Apply insecticide to the wood surface or inject it into existing holes to kill active bees and prevent further nesting.
  • Plugging Holes: After ensuring no bees are inside, fill the holes with wood putty or caulk and repaint the surface.
  • Natural Predators: Encourage predators such as Bird control to help control carpenter bee populations.


  • Despite their nuisance, carpenter bees are important pollinators for many plants, contributing to biodiversity and the health of ecosystems.

Summary Of Carpenter Bee

Carpenter bees are both beneficial and destructive. While they play a crucial role in pollination, their nesting habits can cause significant damage to wooden structures. Effective management involves preventative measures, monitoring, and control strategies to mitigate damage while appreciating their ecological contributions. For professional assistance, Get’Em Out Wildlife Control offers expert services to manage carpenter bee issues effectively, ensuring both the preservation of their ecological role and the protection of your property.

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