Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: January 23, 2023
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Carpenter bees are a species of vital pollination bees in the genus Xylocopa resembling bumblebees. They have shiny hairy abdomen, unlike bumblebees with black and yellow stripes and hairy abdomen. Fascinatingly, carpenter bees are famous for their wood-boring activities to serve as a habitat for themselves and young ones. 

Are carpenter bees dangerous? We will learn more about these unique insects as you dive with us in this article. 

Background on Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bee - Hole in Wood

15% of our agricultural crops are pollinated by carpenter bees.

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With almost a wide range of crops and flowering plants dependent on bees for pollination, one can be 100% sure to say that these bees have proven to be a valuable member of the ecosystem, with carpenter bees contributing a 15% quota to that effect. 

Astoundingly, carpenter bees differ from other bee species like honey bees and bumblebees regarding colony life. These bee species (carpenter bees) prefer to live in units, with a few of them having simple social nests in which females may cohabit. Interestingly, when these female carpenter bees cohabit, division of labor occurs. Some take charge in foraging, some in nest laying, while others guard the nest.

Carpenter bees mate during spring after the winter breeze reclines, causing the female species to seek suitable wood or furniture, which they bore into and create sets of pleasant tunnels that house their laid eggs.

Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?

What Do Carpenter Bees Eat - Carpenter Bee Boring Through Wood

Carpenter bees are dangerous to wood and furniture.

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Unless we classify disfiguring modifications to wood and furniture as dangerous, it is essential to note that carpenter bees are mostly harmless and keen on focusing on their business. However, unlike their aggressive male counterparts, the female carpenter bee may give off multiple stings if disturbed by intruding humans, poked, or mishandled. Shockingly, the male carpenter bee does not have a stinger but, in many cases, uses its territorial and threatening skills as a defense mechanism against intruders.

What are the Damages Caused by a Carpenter Bee?

Carpenter bees disfigure wood.

©SweetCrisis/Shutterstock.com

Although inspired by a pure desire to cater to itself and its eggs, the carpenter bee crosses the thin line by servicing its natural inclinations at the expense of the finely sawed furniture. Carpenter bees can often be seen hovering around houses. The elongated hovering around buildings is somewhat of an evaluation exercise for them. Just like realtors do, this enables them to identify a suitable potential spot where they can mate, bore, and make their home for the coming summer and winter.

In truth, when carpenter bees source for woods to bore, they shy away from painted or treated wood because these woods contain chemicals that dissuade them. So, they hover around a variety of houses, rooftops, fascia boards, and simple wooden furniture to pick out the best fit for their boring activities. The significant effect of this activity is disfiguring and, in some cases, the eventual weakening of the wood.

It is essential to note also that the continuous infestation by carpenter bees can cause significant destruction to woods, as they are likely to increase the diameter or size of the hole continuously. For fear of decay, rot, and further devastating infestation, humans must adopt precautionary models.

What are the suitable Precautionary Models against Carpenter Bees Infestation?

One effective way of mitigating the damages caused by carpenter bees is employing the aid of specialized insecticides. When these chemicals are applied to infected wood, carpenter bees retreat from inhabiting the supposed wood until the chemicals wear off.

Apart from these insecticides, well-designed ingenious traps can be employed. They are pretty simple to make as they don’t require any heavy material; instead, some garage equipment can suffice. These traps aim to lure carpenter bees into a prototype wooden enclosure with multiple tunnels drilled into them and distributed unevenly around. An empty and transparent plastic bottle would be attached to the opened bottom of the wooden structure, luring the bee into the bottle. Once inside the bottle, the disoriented bee would flutter, get exhausted, and eventually die.

Although insecticides and other trapping methods effectively suppress carpenter bees, one must be careful when employing them. Here are a few steps to consider when applying these chemicals:

  • Do not neglect the use of nose masks, hand gloves, and a hose when applying insecticides to affected areas.  
  • The potency of most insecticide sprays lasts only for a month or less, so it is only fair to treat affected areas as much as possible repeatedly. 
  • Property owners looking to get rid of these bees should look out for certain ingredients like deltamethrin and cyfluthrin when they shop for an insecticide. 
  • One must also adequately cover the infested space to dispel the budding bees.
  • In addition to applying insecticide, fitting nubs that can serve as covers or corks for opened areas should be employed.

Other Exciting Facts about Carpenter Bees

  • There are more than 500 species of these insects across the globe.
  • Their special delicacies include nectar and pollen grains.
  • They use their powerful thoracic muscle to extract their liquid meals from flower anthers.
  • Carpenter bees are primarily solitary insects.
  • Although carpenter bees nest in woods, they do not resort to eating them at any point in their lives.
  • Most of species are dark-colored with yellow or white pubescence.
  • The abdomen of carpenter bees is usually plain and shiny, and they are distinctly hairless compared to bumblebees. 
  • They nest their eggs in bored wood holes.
  • When carpenter bees evacuate former habitats, wasps and other little bees seeking food find their way to these abandoned places.
  • Carpenter bees often showcase their intriguing skill for geometry as they bore near-perfect circles in woods that they consider fit to inhabit.
  • They effortlessly bore through the wood’s desired length, making over five to six cells. Interestingly, these many cells the mother bee bores assure her that her incoming eggs will not be condensed or piled up. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © SweetCrisis/Shutterstock.com


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