There are many varieties of each type in the insect world, and it can be difficult to know which ones are dangerous and which are harmless. This is especially true with stinging insects like bees, which are incredibly varied and have many different habits and ways of defending themselves.

Carpenter bees are common in the United States and create tunnels in untreated wood surfaces to build their nests. Other than this, their behavior is very similar to common types of bees like honey bees or bumblebees, especially in how they defend themselves.

You might be wondering whether carpenter bees sting since they are so common around porches and backyards. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Do Carpenter Bees Sting?
  • How To Identify Carpenter Bees
  • How To Prevent Carpenter Bee Stings

Knowing how these bees defend themselves and whether you need to be careful around them can help you feel more comfortable if you ever run into them in your backyard.

    Do Carpenter Bees Sting?

    Carpenter bees will sting if they feel it’s necessary. However, it will always be a last-ditch effort, and they won’t be aggressive like yellowjackets, hornets, or wasps. Like honey bees, carpenter bees die if they sting, so it won’t be something they take lightly or do simply because they see you. They’ll only sting if provoked or attacked, so if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone as well. If you get stung by a carpenter bee, simply remove the stinger and wash the area with soap and water. You should also consider taking an antihistamine to avoid any kind of allergic reaction.

    Male carpenter bees are very territorial and will try to defend their habitat if they feel threatened. Luckily, though, male bees can’t sting, and it’s only the female carpenter bees that can deliver this defense mechanism. In general, they try to avoid high-traffic areas and do their best to stay out of your way.

    You’re most likely to run into carpenter bees around any wooden structures you have in your backyard, like pergolas or decks. They build their hives and lay eggs inside the holes they bore, which can cause structural damage and issues down the line.

    How To Identify Carpenter Bees

    Carpenter bees are large, black, and flying insects usually measuring between 1 and 1.5 inches in length. Their bodies are bulbous and round, and they have small hairs that make them look fuzzy with yellow stripes. They have three body segments, three pairs of legs, and a pair of antennae. They will also have translucent wings with blue tips that are very easy to identify.

    You may notice carpenter bees around small holes in wood structures. They usually bore holes in soft woods like cedar and redwood, a common material for decks and backyard structures. If you’re noticing these small holes and nesting sites in bare wood in your backyard, you may have a carpenter bee infestation.

    How To Prevent Carpenter Bee Stings

    The best way to prevent carpenter bee stings is to avoid the bees themselves as much as possible. Since they aren’t aggressive, you probably won’t have to worry about getting stung if you simply mind your own business in your backyard. However, if you come across one of their nests, it’s best to get an exterminator to remove it just to be safe. Some people are highly allergic to bee stings, and a nest in your backyard can potentially be dangerous.

    If a carpenter bee happens to land on you, try not to make any sudden movements that could frighten it or give it a reason to sting you. For the most part, they’ll fly away after a few moments without incident. If you want to avoid any confrontation, try to stay away from any wood structures where the bees have built their nest.

    Carpenter bees hibernate in the winter and will abandon the areas where they have bored holes until the time has come for them to mate again in the spring. Sealing up the holes with paint or sealant can keep them from coming back to the same area.

    If you’re spending time outside and you know that you have a carpenter bee nest nearby, be sure to cover any food you might have and dispose of the garbage right away. Anything sweet or sugary will attract bees, so it’s best to consider that when dining outside and try to deter any stinging insects.

    Avoid Carpenter Bee Stings With Know-How

    Knowing what carpenter bees are attracted to and when they’re most likely to sting can help you avoid them in the first place. Taking the time to look for nests and taking the necessary precautions can help you stay safe when enjoying your backyard. Although getting stung is rare, it’s best not to take any chances.

    If you’re dealing with a carpenter bee infestation, call a professional pest control technician and have them remove it. You should never try to remove a bee’s nest on your own since they can swarm if provoked. A pest management professional will have the right tools to remove the nest safely and effectively.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Carpenter bees hibernate in the winter.

    And they will abandon the areas where they have bored holes until the time has come for them to mate again in the spring.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Ed Spicer

    Ed Spicer

    Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

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