Carpenter Bees Identification

When homeowners start to notice large, fat, black and yellow bees hovering around the outside of their homes near wood (soffits, decks, trim boards) in late-spring and early summer, These most likely are carpenter bees searching for partners and promising sites to build their nests (small round holes). Male carpenter bees are quite bold, often flying in front of people who are nearby their nests. The males have no stingers, therefore, are quite harmless. Female carpenter bees, however, can deliver an unpleasant sting but rarely do unless physically handled. Carpenter Bee’s are becoming more and more plentiful in SE Michigan every year. 

alt=" a carpenter bee making a home in a piece of cedar found at a Michigan home"
Carpenter Bee Working

Difference between Carpenter Bees and Bumblebees

Despite their comparable appearance, the nesting habits of the two insects are quite different. Carpenter bees prefer to tunnel into exposed soft wood like facia-boards behind gutters, soffits, trim boards, and decks by making small, perfectly round holes in the wood and tunneling horizontally to build their nest. Other popular nesting spots include gazebos, wood play sets, patio furniture, and even cedar siding. Whereas, Bumblebees build their nest in some void area (hole in the ground, the base of wall void, under low lying decks or woodpiles, basement rafters (when the opening is low to the ground on the outside) where they can build there orangish-yellow egg sack nests.

When you look closely at a carpenter bee, you will see that their top abdomen of hairless and shiny black. Whereas, the abdomen of bumblebees is full of hair, and has a more yellow color.

The easiest way to identify Carpenter bees is by watching if the bees are just hovering near the wood, or are drilling into it as stated above for nesting purposes. They are fast fliers, fly higher that bumble bees, and are more active the hotter the temperature. Carpenter bees are most active in May & June when most of the nesting begins.

carpenter bee exrmination

Eliminate Carpenter Bee nesting spots and prevent new ones

Due to the difficulty involved with eliminating carpenter bees (especially with any OTC product , we recommend that you hire a professional bee exterminator like CJB Pest. They are harder to eliminate because they are much larger than regular bees, nest inside of a void area, and do not sit still for very long. They do lay eggs in the holes they nest in, so it ‘s hard to eliminate a carpenter bee infestation in full unless you are treating these nesting holes inside. 

CJB has a two-step process for treating carpenter bees and carpenter bee eradication, after being contracted by the homeowners.

  1. We locate their nests, fog to kill any adults inside at the time, apply dust into the void areas to kill any that return to the nest and to kill any pupa hatching from the eggs. This insecticide will stick to bodies of bees going in and out and will help carry the poison to the entire colony. 
  2. Treating the remaining areas on the house or carpet bees in the house or garage, deck, shed, or play sets that have wood and are vulnerable to future nesting. Hiring a professional is recommended, as we are better equipped and use pesticides that are strong enough to kill and repel them. Any over the counter product may kill them if you spray directly ON THEM, but provide little to no residual effectiveness on any treated areas

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Pest Control & Exterminator Services - Michigan COVID 19 essential services

Dear Customers,

Pest Control And exterminator services are classified as “ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES” by the Governor. Our service technicians and entire staff are aware of the seriousness of COVID-19. Fortunately, the nature of our work requires our technicians to wear filtered masks, face shields, and gloves when inside of a home. Therefore, for indoor pests like mice, bed bugs, roaches, carpenter ants, and fleas our service techs have been instructed to do the following for the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of your home:

  • Maintain a safe distance between you and them
  • Wear face shield + filtered face mask , and latex gloves 
  • Wave invoice signatures. Invoices will be emailed to you 
  • Vehicles and uniforms sanitized at the end of each day.
  • Technicians are monitored each morning for COVID 19 symptoms

“Rodent and wildlife problems such as Birds, Rats, Raccoons, and Squirrels will have limited interior activity by our technicians (if any – crawl space, attic) as trapping and baiting can be done from the exterior” 


Nick Burgess


CJB Pest & Mosquito Control