A carpenter is someone who builds using wood and a bee is a flying insect known for eating pollen and nectar.
Combined, these two words form the name of one of the most annoying bees found in the United States.
But what is this bee, and can it hurt people by stinging?
Let's find out!
What Are Carpenter Bees (Wood Boring Bees)?
Carpenters are large black bees that measure between 1.0 and 1.5 in. in length. Their bodies are bulbous and round with small hairs that make them look fuzzy.
Like most other bees, a carpenter or wood boring bee is a true insect. This means that all of the bees have three body segments, three pairs of legs, and a pair of antennae.
The majority of bees are female and do have stingers, but they don't use them often. One defining characteristic of carpenter bees is that they build their homes by drilling into soft woods like cedar. They also have translucent wings with blue at the tips.
Carpenter bees hibernate during the winter and emerge in April and May, when they search for a mate. Males tend to die shortly after mating and don't serve much purpose in life.
Read Also: What's the best trap for carpenter bees?
Do Carpenter Bees Sting?
Yes, a female carpenter bee can sting, but it won't unless directly threatened by a human or animal, which can happen if you accidentally bump into one around your yard or step on one.
Thankfully, these bees prefer to avoid confrontation altogether and won't live in high traffic areas. Carpenter bees are also the type that can only sting once before dying, so it truly is a last ditch measure against a threat.
Although male bees are highly territorial, they can't sting. The most they will do is fly at the person invading their territory and maybe bump into them.
If you seem to have multiple flying insects in your yard that sting many times, and they are still yellow and black, you could be suffering from an infestation of hornets, wasps, or yellow jackets instead of bees.
Below is a video of a carpenter bee captured in a clothespin showing what the actual stinger looks. Check it out.
What Should You Do If Stung By a Carpenter Bee?
Some people are allergic to bee venom (yes, bees have venom), so they should take an antihistamine and go to a hospital immediately if experiencing severe symptoms.
Other people should also consider taking an antihistamine to lessen the effects of the carpenter bee venom. Be sure to remove the sting, which will still be stuck in the skin after the bee leaves. Wash the area of the sting with soap and water before applying ice to deal with the swelling.
Do Carpenter Bees Bite?
When confronted by an insect or enemy that is too small to sting, a bee may use its jaws as a weapon.
Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?
Typically, carpenter bees are not very dangerous. While they do have stingers and make their homes in softwood, they stay away from humans and don't really interact with people.
A bee or two also don't cause much damage. The holes they bore are relatively small and since they are fairly territorial, it's unlikely that a large population will live near each other.
In some cases, the pesticides used to combat carpenter bees are more dangerous for people and the environment! We always recommend that pesticides should be used sparingly and any individual who decides to try one should read all of the instructions first.
In particular, the pesticides can contaminate foliage and streams, so be careful.
Closing Thoughts On Carpenter Stings
Although they might invade your porch, carpenter bees aren't dangerous, are unlikely to sting, and definitely don't buy humans or pets.
If you have a carpenter bee infestation, you might want to seek the help of a professional or look into other ways of getting rid of them. One or two should be fine, but having many bees invading your yard can be bad news.
Don't be put out by bees. Learn the facts and take your wood back with knowledge.
Other Bee Guides
Curious about other bee related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.