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Proper identification of a particular pest is paramount when discussing any type of management, extermination or control. Bees are certainly no exception to this rule. There are two bees in particular that are similar enough to be often confused with each other. This misidentification involves the bumblebee and the carpenter bee.

According to a report submitted by the Entomology Department of Penn State University, “People who complain about bumblebees flying about under the eaves of their homes are probably being annoyed by carpenter bees.” Although they are very similar and represent the largest of bee species, there are noticeable differences that will help with proper identification.

The bumblebee is quite large, measuring 3/4” or more in size. The bumblebee is a very hairy and colorful bee. When looking at the top of the abdomen of a bumblebee, you will quickly notice it is covered with colorful hair. In comparison, the top of the abdomen of the carpenter bee is shiny and without the colorful hair. The bumblebee is rather docile and shows no aggressiveness or desire to sting. The only exception to this is if they encounter a disturbance of their nest. Back away if this happens and the bumblebee will quickly calm back down. Bumblebees do not nest inside wood and cause no damage to the structure of the home. They are actually very beneficial with their natural pollinating activities while eating plant nectar and pollen, much like that of the honeybee.

The carpenter bee is slightly smaller than the bumblebee. The female boasts of a black face to go along with her shiny abdomen while the face of the male is a yellow or light brown color. The carpenter bee gets its name honestly from their ability to drill into the wood to make their nests. They will nest in all types of wood but prefer older, weathered, unpainted wood. The male carpenter bee is very territorial and will confront you, buzzing around you the closer you get to his nest. However, this is all show and scare tactic as males do not have a stinger and cannot hurt you. The females do come equipped with a stinger but are fortunately more docile than the males. It is quite common during this is the time of year to sight carpenter bees. They spend the winter inside the wood nests but come out in the spring to mate.

In the event that extermination of carpenter bees is necessary one must remember that pesticides are poisonous. Witt is Pittsburgh’s most advanced pest control company, successfully serving our residential and commercial clients since 1908. We focus on eco-friendly solutions and can control your bee problem with little or no use of pesticides. Contact us today!

Tags:  stinging insect control  |  bee identification  |  Eco-Friendly Pest Solutions  |