While you may dread the thought of carpenter bees as soon as spring rolls around, you might be surprised to hear that only the female bees of this variety stings.
That is right – if a male carpenter bee is hovering close to you, then you will be happy to know that it will not sting. So, yes, carpenter bees do sting, but they are likely just to be curious about you.
If you are interested to understand more about carpenter bees and their sting then read on. They are fascinating creatures that have a medium pain sting!
What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?
You can tell the difference between a carpenter bee and a ‘regular’ bumblebee by its color. While the most recognizable bee has yellow and black stripes and is furry, the carpenter bee is black and shiny.
It does also have a cluster of yellow on its upper back.
It kind of looks like an oversized fly, which is actually very scary when you think about it!
However, the carpenter bee is harmless and friendly when left on its own.
They are the exact same size of a bumblebee, and have 6 legs and an antennae. It measures in length from one and a quarter inches to an inch in total.
Carpenter bees also use wood building frames and trees to create nests.
They also build burrows to mate too. You will know if you have carpenter bees around your home if you see them in one place and there are tiny holes in the wood.
This means that they have chewed their way through the wood to create their burrows.
Will A Carpenter Bee Sting You?
Carpenter bees are not known as being aggressive, including the females who do have a stinger. The male carpenter bees however do not have a stinger.
When you see carpenter bees flying around an area of your home, it is likely the ones you see are male. They will be protecting the nest and trying to stop other insects from finding their way in.
This will no doubt make you feel a little better because they are less threatening without the stinger. A male carpenter bee may fly (see also: Can Bees Fly At Night?)up to you out of curiosity, but they cannot sting you.
However, do not always assume it is a male carpenter bee!
It is best to stay still and let the carpenter bee fly away. They might actually move in closer if you try to waft them away. A female carpenter bee may sting you due to feeling threatened if you are waving your arms about.
A good tip is to throw something and watch the carpenter bee follow it. Male carpenter bees tend to go where there is movement – basically just due to curiosity!
How To Treat A Carpenter Bee Sting?
If you happen to get stung by a carpenter bee, then treat it the same way as a normal bumblebee sting. Check that the stinger is not still in the skin. If you can see it, use your fingernail to remove it.
Never leave the stinger in the skin otherwise you are letting extra venom from the bee cause you more discomfort.
Other than washing it with soap and water, all you need to do is leave it alone. If you find that it starts to swell, use an ice pack to help it go down. Otherwise, let the air get to it so it can heal.
If you do happen to have an allergic reaction, you will need to get professional help right away.
Why Do Male Carpenter Bees Not Sting?
Male carpenter bees don’t sting because they do not have a stinger. They literally cannot sting anyone or anything. This does not mean that they do not look threatening however!
On the other hand, a female carpenter bee does have a stinger, so you will want to make sure that you leave carpenter bees alone just in case it does happen to be a female.
However, it does tend to be the male carpenter bees that follow people.
They are intrigued by what is moving within their territory. So never be surprised if a carpenter bee tries to get up close to your face.
When that happens just stay still. Soon enough it will move on when it realizes that you are not a threat.
Are There Negatives To Carpenter Bees?
Carpenter bees are a wonderful addition to the world’s ecosystem because they are needed due to their pollination ability. However, this variety of bee is also very destructive to homes.
It is no surprise that these bees are called ‘carpenter’.
That is because they can do serious damage to wood, especially around the home. They make tunnels within the wood to mate. They do this a couple of times every year, and each time they make little burrows inside the wood.
Over time you may end up with lots of holes in the framework of your house, so you may need to act on this if it is something that is causing great damage to the home.
Are There Positives To Carpenter Bees?
There are many benefits to bees just generally, and carpenter bees are just one of the varieties of bee that is helpful within the world’s ecosystem.
They can help to pollinate vegetables and flowers, especially the likes of tomatoes and eggplant. You will see them going from flower to vegetable even before you have had time to make your breakfast.
This type of bee is also harmless in the fact that so long as you leave them be (no pun intended), they will not feel threatened.
Carpenter bees look a little like regular bumblebees, but they are actually very different. Not only do male carpenter bees not sting – (see also: Do Bumble Bees Sting?)but the females do – they also chew little tiny burrows into wood.
Whether or not you find them irritating once the warmer weather hits, they are still fascinating creatures that are useful to the world’s ecosystem.