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Spotting bees around your home can be concerning, especially when they’re near your wooden deck or siding. Carpenter bees, with distinctive looks and habits, often raise questions – namely, can they sting or bite? Understanding them will answer your questions and make sure you can stay safe!

This post will clear up any confusion around carpenter bees, whether they sting or bite, how to catch their presence, and what steps you can take to prevent them from causing damage.

The Carpenter Bee

This is a unique species often mistaken for bumblebees due to their similar size and coloring. However, there are key differences that set the two apart.

Carpenter bees have shiny, black abdomens with little to no hair, unlike the fuzzy, yellow-and-black bodies of bumblebees. They are known for their solitary nesting habits, burrowing into untreated or weathered wood to lay their eggs.

The most active times of year for the carpenter bee are the spring and early summer when they search for mates and suitable nesting sites. You might spot them hovering around wooden structures like eaves, decks, and fences. Unlike honeybees, carpenter bees do not live in colonies, and each female typically creates her own nest.

Lastly, carpenter bees play an important role despite their somewhat intimidating appearance. They are helpful pollinators. As they visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen, they help in the cross-pollination of plants like the other bees we know and love.

Carpenter bees do not typically sting or bite, similar to other types of bees.

Do Carpenter Bees Sting or Bite?

The good news is that male carpenter bees, which are often the most visible and aggressive, cannot sting at all – they lack a stinger altogether. However, they might buzz around intruders to protect their nesting sites. These tough guys can be sufficiently intimidating but are ultimately harmless.

Conversely, female carpenter bees do have stingers and can sting, but they are generally non-aggressive. A female will only sting if she feels directly threatened or provoked. The sting from a female carpenter bee is similar to that of a honeybee or wasp. While it’s painful, it typically isn’t dangerous unless you’re allergic to bee stings.

Biting Behavior

While carpenter bees do have strong mandibles, they use them primarily for burrowing into wood to create their nests. Their mandibles are not used for biting humans or animals.

The damage they cause is to wooden structures, not to people. Bee burrowing habits can lead to structural damage over time if left unchecked. So, it’s important to identify and address any signs of nesting activity early on.

Signs of Carpenter Bee Infestation

Catching the carpenters ASAP will help you prevent significant damage. Here are some sure signs to investigate:

  • Entry Holes: Carpenter bees create perfectly round entry holes about ½ inch in diameter in wood surfaces. These holes are the most obvious sign of their presence.
  • Wood Shavings (Frass): You might notice small piles of sawdust-like material beneath these entry holes. This frass is produced as the bees excavate their tunnels.
  • Bee Activity: Seeing carpenter bees hovering around wooden structures, especially during the spring and early summer, is a strong indicator of nesting activity.
  • Buzzing Sounds: If you listen closely, you might hear faint buzzing or chewing sounds coming from within wooden structures. This noise is caused by the bees burrowing into the wood.

Since carpenter bees are active during spring and summer, searching for nests and mates, you might spot them more frequently. More instances around your home during this period can indicate an infestation or a nearby nest.

Carpenter bees will bite or sting humans or other insects if they feel they need to defend themselves.

Carpenter bee nest

Preventing Stings and Nearby Nests

Avoiding carpenter bees and stings around your house will take proactive efforts and routine upkeep. These are the areas you’ll want to pay most attention to:

Wood Treatments

  • Paint or Varnish: Carpenter bees prefer untreated or weathered wood. Painting or varnishing exposed wood surfaces can deter them from nesting.
  • Wood Sealants: Applying wood sealants to cracks and crevices can help prevent bees from accessing potential nesting sites.

Physical Barriers

  • Screens and Netting: Install fine mesh screens or netting over potential nesting areas such as eaves, decks, and soffits to physically block the bees from accessing these spots.
  • Wood Replacements: Consider replacing old, untreated wood with pressure-treated or composite materials that are less attractive to carpenter bees.

Other Maintenance

  • Regular Inspections: Conduct or schedule regular inspections of your home’s wooden structures, especially during the spring and early summer, to catch signs of carpenter bee activity early.
  • Repairs: Promptly repair any damage to wood caused by carpenter bees to prevent further infestation and structural issues.

When to Call a Professional

Preventative maintenance is essential and effective for managing infestations, but there are times when a trained professional should get involved. For example:

  • Severe Infestation: If you notice extensive damage or multiple nests, professional help is essential. A pest control expert can assess the situation and implement comprehensive treatment strategies.
  • Returning Populations: If carpenter bees return year after year despite your preventive efforts, a professional can provide long-term solutions and advice on how to make your home less attractive to these pests.
  • Structural Damage: Significant damage to essential wooden structures like support beams or eaves requires professional repair to ensure the integrity and safety of your home.
  • Allergic Reactions: If anyone in your household is allergic to bee stings, it’s safer to let professionals handle the bees to minimize the risk of stings and potential allergic reactions.


While these beneficial pollinators are generally harmless to humans, carpenter bees can pose a threat to your wooden structures if left unaddressed.

Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of their habits, signs of a nest, and preventative action, you’re ready for their spring and summer rushes. If you do notice signs of damage in or around your home or want to schedule preventative pest control in Atlanta, GA, and surrounding areas, call Inside and Out Pest Services today.

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