What do you need?

Use the search below to search the site or find your local unit office.

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

Carpenter Bee



Authors as Published

Eric Day, Entomologist, Virginia Tech

Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae, Xylocopa virginica


Up to 1 1/2 inches (38mm)


Figure 1-1450 Carpenter Bee (USDA)




Carpenter bees are large bees, resembling bumblebees. They are heavy-bodied and metallic blue-black with green or purplish highlights. The bodies are covered with bright yellow or orange hairs.


Figure 2-1450 Carpenter bee and entrance hole. Photo: Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org


These insects build their nests in wood siding, the ends of logs used in modern log houses, or other areas where bare or painted wood is exposed.

Life Cycle

The males and females cut a one-half inch circular hole into the wood, then create a tunnel parallel to the surface of the wood. Within the tunnel the female stores food and lays eggs. The developing carpenter bee larvae are in individual cells in the tunnel. There is usually only one generation per year. 

Type of Damage

Cut holes in wood; yellow sawdust containing waste materials leaves unsightly stains. 


Spraying the entrance hole with an aerosol insecticide and plugging it with wood putty to prevent adults from returning can achieve control of these insects. 

Interesting Facts

Females are quite docile, although they can sting. Males are aggressive, but cannot sting.


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.


Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Jewel E. Hairston, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.


June 11, 2010

Available as:

Other resources in:

Other resources by:

Other resources from: