Carpenter Bee – 5/11/23

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/11/23

Observation Time: 10:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary (Billings Loop barn)

Common Name: Carpenter Bee

Scientific Name: Xylocopa virginica

Comments: Carpenter bees look like bumblebees, but they have a completely black, shiny, hairless abdomen (the rear section). They mate in April or May. The female carpenter bee starts looking for a suitable nest site, such as weathered areas on buildings, fences, or telephone poles. She chews a hole into the wood and lays her eggs. Adult carpenter bees emerge in August but return to the nest to overwinter. Male carpenter bees hover near the holes that the females bore into wood but they cannot sting. Only the females can sting.

Carpenter bee tunnels occasionally cause minor damage to wooden buildings (note the holes in the wood in the photos). Carpenter bees can be deterred by hanging a fake hornet nest nearby.

More information: Mass Audubon