Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are divided into two types: small (Ceratina) and large (Xylocopa). The large ones are most likely to make a presence as pests in your house. These are largely black and yellow insects which cause damage to furniture by boring into woods. They’ve got their popular name “carpenter bees” because of their habit of nesting in the woods. Unlike honeybees or bumblebees, these pests do not make their hives but instead make holes in wood and stay inside it.


Carpenter bees can be confused with bumblebees. But there are a few distinctions which can help identify carpenter bees. These bees have black and shiny abdomens, unlike bumblebee’s hairy and yellow marked abdomens.

Appearance and Behavior

carpenter bee

By gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K – Small Carpenter Bee. Ceratina sp. female on Orobanche, CC BY 2.0, 

Their body varies from ½ to 1 inch in length. These pests have a blue-black or green or rather a metallic sheen, and shining abdomens, relatively hairless. Carpenter bees are solitary bees. They do not live in swarms but live alone. All the female carpenter bees are fertile. They drill holes in wood and nest in it.

The holes made by these pests are almost perfect and can be used year after year to live. Their holes are usually located on the underside of furniture such as soffits, decks, sidings, etc. Also, being solitary bees, these are more efficient in pollination. While holes in wood serve as the most obvious sign of carpenter bees inside your home, yellow or brown excrement below the entrance hole can also be a sign that these pests have started sharing your furniture.


Carpenter bees usually attack unpainted wood. They might get attracted to your wooden lawn furniture, windowsills, doors, telephone poles, etc. But they do not stop at unpainted wood. They can attack any type of wood since they do not eat it but merely make holes in them. So depending upon the area you live, you might get infested with carpenter bees, more or less, according to the furniture you have.


  • Use a carpenter bee spray: Spray anywhere you find boreholes or over all the wooden surfaces in your home since those are where these pests attack. Double sprays would ensure that the bees stay away.
  • Make a carpenter bee repellent on your own: Mix 10 drops of lavender oil, 5 drops of jojoba oil, 10 drops of citronella oil, 5 drops of tea tree oil, in an empty spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with a bottle. The scent will make the bees stay away. Rain can make the scent away so it is advised to spray again after the rain.
  • Get supplies from your nearby local store to fill the holes. These pests can be difficult to remove once they go inside the walls. You can get supplies like foam or plugs which help to kill the bees inside the holes.

Carpenter Bee Facts

  • Males try to be the “tough” ones, buzzing around and trying to threaten anybody who intimidates them, but they do not have a stinger.
  • Males die soon after they mate with the female ones.
  • Carpenter bees hibernate through the winters and generally come out near early spring.
  • Females die after laying eggs.
  • Although not social bees, they can be found living with their siblings.

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