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Carpenter Bee

ID

3006-1450

Authors as Published

Eric Day, Entomologist, Virginia Tech

Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae, Xylocopa virginica

Size

Up to 1 1/2 inches (38mm)

   

Figure 1-1450 Carpenter Bee (USDA)

Color

Dark-colored

Description

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

Habitat

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. 

Control

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.

Rights


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.

Publisher

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

Date

June 11, 2010


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