Carpenter Bees‘ stings, just like those from snakes, are truly terrifying. Their huge size and the aggressive nature of the male carpenter bees cause even more fear among people. So, do Do Carpenter Bees Sting or Bite?
Answer: Only female carpenter bees can sting, but they only do so when they provoked or mishandled. However, the contrast between carpenter bees and other bees is that they don’t lose their stinger after the stinging action. Therefore, carpenter bees can sting you or your pet multiple times.
Related: Carpenter Bee vs Bumblebee
Do Carpenter Bees Bite or Sting?
Male carpenter bees will only make frightening moves in response to any sudden movements but can’t sting. The holes the carpenter bees dig also weaken the wood structure as they continue to return. Also, multiply fast and attract woodpeckers, which cause even more damage.
Check these carpenter bee traps that can help you manage your carpenter bee problem around the house. Carpenter bees drill holes on people’s houses, wooden fences. Additionally, if a woodpecker passes by the drilled holes, they would enlarge the holes left by the carpenter bee and thus cause damage to your wooden structure.
Carpenter bee sting treatment
The female carpenter bee can repeatedly sting as it does not lose its stinger after delivering a bite. However, like most bee stings, the result is often a painful local reaction. Sometimes the result can be an acute allergic reaction. Its venom, like that of the bumblebee, contains melittin.
Melittin induces pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area. According to the Abrons Student Health Center at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the best way to treat a carpenter bee sting is to rest and elevate the affected body part.
It is also advisable to apply cold packs now and then for the first 24 hours. Protect your skin from the direct contact with the ice pack by placing two layers of fabric. Pain and swelling can also be managed by taking over-the-counter antihistamines and painkillers respectively.
The situation may be more concerning if you are allergic to bee stings. In such instances, more severe symptoms may appear. These include whole body rash, nausea, burning, weakness and in some cases, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, and shock. Such symptoms demand immediate medical treatment.
Related: Ground Bees Elimination
Difference between male and female carpenter bees
Carpenter bees are prevalent worldwide and belong to approximately 500 species. They have a characteristic shiny abdomen, a quality which distinguishes them from bumblebees’ hairy abdomens.
Male carpenter bees can be identified through their yellow or white faces. While female carpenter bees have a stinger, their male counterparts are harmless. However, the female is docile and will not bite unless it feels threatened.
Do carpenter bees pollinate flowers?
Yes: carpenter bees pollinate open-faced flowers. They need pollen and nectar to make bee bread to feed the larvae. They cross-pollinate flowers while collecting the pollen and nectar, making them invaluable for the ecosystem.
That is why it makes sense to catch and release them if you can, as opposed to extermination.
Do carpenter bees make honey?
Female carpenter bees feed pollen and regurgitated nectar to their larvae. Only honey bees make significant amounts of honey. That is because they are not solitary like carpenter bees and live in large colonies.
Apart from being solitary, carpenter bees do not need to keep large quantities of honey as the queen and workers die during late fall. The only survivor is the newly hatched queen who will survive by hibernating underground throughout winter.
Timing is king!
Taking preventative action is always the best approach to controlling carpenter bee infestation. Coat all untreated wood structures in early spring before the bees dig their nests. If you wish to use carpenter bee traps, also do so before they take residence around your home.
If the bees have already dug nests, it is advisable to use a pesticide instead. Plug all the holes and deploy your traps afterward. Take all the required precautions when using the pesticides or call a professional exterminator to do the job.