Throughout the state of Kentucky residents may have noticed a large bee buzzing around their neighborhood. Some will shout out that it’s a bumble bee. Others are not so sure. There are two large sized bees that are actually buzzing around; one is a bumble bee and the other is a carpenter bee. Both may pose somewhat of a problem. Both a carpenter bee and a bumble bee look very similar at first glance. However, each has their own set of behaviors and problems. A Five Star Termite & Pest Control will share the differences between the two species of bees and the different problems they can pose.
Do Carpenter Bees Look Like Bumblebees?
Carpenter bees and bumbles are both about an inch in length. They are both also similar in coloring as they are both black and yellow. Therefore, at first glance they do look very similar. Nevertheless, they do have some distinct characteristics that help you tell the two bees apart. Carpenter bees, depending on the species, can actually vary in color. Some might be all black while others may have some yellowish stripes. Bumbles bees usually are black with a single yellow band that wraps around their abdomen. Another major difference is that bumble bees have a fuzzy body that is covered in hair while carpenter bees are smooth and hairless.
Bee Nesting & Behaviors
Bumblebees – Bumble bees are social and behave like typical bees. At the beginning of spring, a young queen will leave her mother’s hive and will look for a safe place to begin her future generations. A bumble bee female will lay her eggs and protect and nurture them until they reach adulthood. Once her first generation of worker bees are mature, they will begin pollinating and caring for the queen and her egg. They will also feed the larva. Unlike traditional bees that build hives in trees and in high places, bumble bees will build their hive or nest in the ground. They will occasionally build their nest in sheds or other structures. However, they don’t like areas with high activity. Bumble bees are not aggressive unless their hive is being threatened. It is not recommended for you to disturb a bumble bee hive. In so doing, you run the risk of being stung. A single bumble bee hive can last for years and you will see multiple bees flying around.
Carpenter Bees – Carpenter bees differ from the common bee in nest behaviors. Carpenter bees are non-social bees that only pair up with their mate. Carpenter bees will bore into dry wood or trees and create galleries where the female will lay her eggs. The female will also create pollen balls for the larva to feed on. The male will also gather pollen, but his main role is protecting the nest from other invaders, mainly insects and birds. Carpenter bees will aggressively defend the hive until the female finishes laying her eggs and leaves pollen balls for her future young. Once the female has finished, she and the male will seal up the bore hole and leave their eggs to grow and mature on their own. The parent carpenter bees will die shortly after leaving their young. If you’re only seeing one bee flying back and forth at times, it is most likely a carpenter bee.
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Carpenter bees can cause structural damage to buildings and bumble bees can threaten and sting intruders. If you are worried about bee stings and need help, contact A Five Star Termite & Pest Control. We can help defend your home against any invading pests.