Have you ever heard the phrase, “as busy as a bee?” There is a reason why people chose this insect over another animal, as it certainly describes their behavior and lifestyle. One species in particular, the carpenter bee, is worth noting in this respect. The name is quite suitable as well, don’t you think? These bees are very common, and are distinguished by their large black and yellow bodies. Many people often confuse them with their close relatives, bumblebees, but the easiest way to make the differentiation is by examining the tail-end of the animal.

What are Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter bees typically have a large, black shiny tail section; as well, they tend to be larger in size. They get their name due to the fact that instead of building their nests or hives in treetops or in other suspended areas (i.e. roofs, gutters, etc.), they prefer to live underground in tunnels and inside dead wood. They inhabit rotting trees, but do so near the surface. This is why it can be difficult to tell whether a tree in fact does possess a nest, as carpenter bees do not create any visible structural damage during the construction process. Like other bees, they feed on nectar from flowers and are very active when it comes to pollinating.

The Life of a Carpenter Bee

  • One major difference which separates carpenter bees from other species is that they are not social.
  • Their hives consist of a relatively small network, but have been known to co-habitate with one another during breeding seasons.
  • Male carpenter bees are unable to sting, but they can be quite aggressive towards other insects and people who venture too close to their nest. On the contrary, the females do have the ability to sting, but will only do so if provoked.
  • During the winter, these animals will stay inside their tunnel-nests, emerging in the spring when the weather is suitable.