Compare Carpenter Bee vs Bumblebee

Amidst the confusion between black bees in your yard, you must have tried to compare carpenter bee vs bumblebee. I hope you agree that differentiating between the two bee types was a difficult task.

In this article we will examine the similarities and differences between  bumble bee and carpenter bee.

But first, have a look at the quick guide below before we get into more details.

Quick Comparison Guide

Carpenter bee

  • Have a black, bare and glittery upper abdomen with some hair at their lower and middle abdomen.
  • A yellow midsection with a black dot in the center.
  • Smaller body size, territorial and aggressive (particularly male)
  • Are mainly black in color but some have yellow marks on their head.
  • Have mandibles at the front of their head used for wood drilling.
  • Poor in pollination.

Bumble bee

  • Have fuzzy or soft hair (pile) that covers their whole body.
  • Its body has aposematic coloration (yellow and black patterns).
  • Have “bumbling” flight patterns,
  • Have a proboscis for pollen and nectar gathering.
  • Are fatter than carpenter bees.
  • Good pollinators
  • Furry abdominal section with 1-4 yellow stripes
  • Larger body size and non-aggressive

Compare carpenter bee vs bumblebee


Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees are black and large bees and come during end of spring and start of summer. The name “carpenter bees”, also known as “wood bees”, was created due to the bees’ practice of wood boring with the aim of creating nests for their young ones.

There exists many species of the carpenter bees. However, Xylocopa virginica (L.) is the most common species, which is yellow and black in color and an inch long. Further, carpenter bees are described as solitary bees. Every female tunnels into wood to create its nest.

Male carpenter bees: Do not sting

The male carpenter bees hover around the house searching for mates and good paces to create their nests. Also, they are very aggressive and hover around people moving near their nests.

However, since they have no stingers, male carpenter bees are harmless. Notably, females have black face while males have yellow face.

Female carpenter bees: have stingers

On the other hand, female carpenter bees have stingers and are quite harmful. However, the females are less aggressive and will only attack in self-defense when molested. Also, the females have black dense hairs blush in the hind legs.

Bumble bees

The whole body of bumble bees is covered with hairs. Also, it is critical to note that the body of the female bumble bees has yellow hair patches on their upper abdomen. Further, bumble bees live in underground nests in a social way.

Female bumble bees cannot sting continuously. Further, they will only attack you or your animals attack when disturbed. Despite that they stings can be painful, it is not dangerous unless it is around the neck or head or for people who have allergic reaction for bee venom.

The bumblebee are in the genus Bombus. There are more than 250 species and mainly live in the higher altitudes. It has a round body which is covered in pile (long branched setae) soft hair.


Carpenter Bees

The following conditions will indicate the possible presence of carpenter bees.

– Sawdust piles under perfectly drilled and circular holes in the house.

– Large, yellow, black, and shiny bees that hover over your head in the house.

– Moldy, yellow, or fan-shaped stains on a structures sides.

Bumble bees

Bumble bees mainly nest below the ground (in or under refuse dumps, debris or soil). Mi9anly, the bees acquire their food from flowers. Despite that they also create honey, they store it in very small amount and thus not commercially viable.

Bumble bees are helpful pollinators to some plant species but not as effective as the honey bees for commercial plants pollination.

Nesting habits

Although carpenter bee vs bumblebee have similar appearances, they have different nesting habits.

For example, bumble bees prefer nesting in the ground while the carpenter bees tend to tunnel in wood with the goal of laying eggs there. They prefer weathered, bare of unpainted softwoods, particularly cypress and redwood.

Except the new queens in the colony, all the other bumble bee colonies perish at the end of fall. The remaining queens thus ensure continuity of the species by laying eggs in spring.

Control carpenter bee and bumblebee

Carpenter Bee

Do you have wood, particularly soft wood, that is not painted or without stains? If yes, carpenter bees could be well attracted to your premises.

To prevent carpenter bees from attacking your structures, ensure to stain, paint or treat the wood. Also, since the bees love soft woods, always use hard wood to build your structures to prevent them from creating their nests.

Further, examine if any wood had been attacked previously attacked by the carpenter bees as they are highly likely to be struck.

Despite that wood preservatives and stains are considered less effective in preventing carpenter bees, they offer some level of repellency. Also, close the garages to prevent the carpenter bees from creating nests.

You can use liquid sprays having synthetic pyrethroid, chlorpyrifos (Dursban), and carbaryl (Sevin) on wood to prevent attack from the carpenter bees. Ensure to repeat the treatment process after two weeks.

Also, you can use an insecticidal dust to treat wood tunnel openings. After treatment, approximately after 1 week later, close the entrance hole using wooden piece of wood.

How to get rid of bumble bees

Bumble Bee can be described as beneficial insects. However, they can be dangerous depending on where their nests are located. To control bumblebees, you should use both chemical and non-chemical control methods.

Chemical treatment

Since timing is important for the control of bumble bees, note the location of bumble bee nest when it is still day time. At night or early evening, or early morning before dawn, treat the nest with the appropriate insecticides to allow maximum effectiveness.

Treating the nests during day time can reach very few bees as most are active and busy outside the nest. Remember to wear protective clothing such as bee veil.  You can use D-Force HPX or D-Force HPX to kill the bees. Also, you can apply D Fense Dust around or inside the nest.

Use insecticides containing resmethrins or pyrethrins to knock- down the bumble bees. Also, you can use dust of sprays that contain carbaryl (Sevin®). After treatment, close the bumble bee hole with soil.  

How to get rid of bumble bees naturally

1. Fill all the holes, rodent of animal burrows near your house to deter bumble bees from creating nests.

2. Close all holes that point to the outside of your house.

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