Carpenter Bee vs Bumblebee – Identification

S. M. e-mailed to ask what is the difference between a carpenter bee and a bumble bee. Since I am not a trained entomologist, I called Dr. Paul Guillebeau to find out. “Just look at their rear end,” he advised. “The carpenter bee has a bald bottom. The bumble bee bottom is hairy. It’s easy to notice – just follow one while they visit your flowers.”

Paul also mentioned that most bee calls now concern the carpenter bee. The female bores holes in wood siding and fence posts and lays her eggs in it . Male bees hover nearby and “zoom” intruders. Although the male is the one most likely to alarm you, he can’t sting. The female can sting – but only if greatly provoked.

The carpenter bees benefit the environment by pollinating the flowers of vegetables and fruits. The adult bees naturally die by mid-summer. Some measure of control can be had by squirting household insect spray into the holes when discovered. Another method is to mix a garden insecticide according to label directions and paint it onto exposed wood you want to protect.

Most folks just swat them from the air.

Carpenter Bees

N. C. State – Carpenter Bees

Clemson Entomology – Carpenter Bee

carpenter bee

carpenter bee

bumblebee - Ansel Oommen,

bumblebee – Ansel Oommen,


carpenter bee Jim Baker, North Carolina State University,

carpenter bee – Jim Baker, North Carolina State University,

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