Carpenter Bees Vs Wasps – Differences and Identification

Are you observing airborne bugs in and around your house? Given the numerous types of flying insects found across the United States, it can be challenging to determine their exact nature and whether they pose a threat to your loved ones and property!

carpenter bee vs wasp

A few types of flying insects drill holes in your home to create their nests, causing serious damage to your home in the process. In this article we’ll be breaking down the differences between carpenter bees vs wasps, how to identify each of these insects and how to get rid of them!

Carpenter Bees:

When Spring gets closer, carpenter bees are coming out! Carpenter bees hibernate in their nests during the Winter, but when the weather warms up carpenter bees are coming out to find places to nest and are looking to reproduce!

wasp vs carpenter bee

Carpenter bees look similar to bumblebees, but rather than having the typical fuzzy body like bumblebees, carpenter bees typically have large black abdomens with shiny skin and fur only on their upper half not their abdomen.

You will generally find carpenter bees near flowers looking for pollen, as well as looking for nests spots. Carpenter bees are great for the ecosystem because they pollinate, but unfortunately for homeowners they do drill holes in homes as they’re looking for a safe place to make a nest. Learn more about carpenter bees nests and what they look like!

How To Get Rid of Carpenter Bees:

We have an entire guide on how to effectively get rid of carpenter bees, but you generally will have a few options. We suggest using a combination of carpenter bee traps and repellents such as using WD-40 against carpenter bees, or using essential oils to repel and deter them.

Because carpenter bees are helpful to the environment, we try to recommend against using pesticides unless it’s your last choice. Generally you can plug existing carpenter bee holes and use repellents and that’s generally enough to have carpenter bees find a new home that isn’t your house.

Overall, I know carpenter bees can be a nuisance to your house, but generally they are pretty harmless and I would recommend attempting to deter them rather than killing them instantly.


There are a handful of different types of wasps including paper wasps, potter wasps, mud wasps, pollen wasps, and wood wasps or carpenter wasps which are often confused for carpenter bees.

carpenter wasps

Wasps are generally any type of stinging insect that doesn’t live in a hive, referenced as the Hymenoptera species. Wasps will generally have very skinny and tapered waists which is their key identification.

Many people confuse wasps and carpenter bees because of their habits around your home. While carpenter bees are looking to drill deep into your wood and create a tunnel system for their nests, most types of wasps don’t drill into wood, other than carpenter wasps (wood wasps). When carpenter wasps drill into your wood, it’s typically only an inch or two into the wood, and they simply use it to deposit their eggs, rather than creating entire nests.

How To Get Rid of Wasps:

Wasps can be more difficult and dangerous to handle vs carpenter bees, because wasps are much more aggressive. They will defend their nests and themselves with a powerful stinger, and they aren’t afraid to use it.

Generally speaking, I recommend calling in a professional if you have a serious wasp infestation. If you only have a few wasps you can get away with spraying their nest with a store bought wasp killer, but for any infestations more serious than that, you’ll want a professional.

Final Thoughts On Wasps vs Carpenter Bees:

Many forms of flying insects are misunderstood, so it’s not surprising that a lot of people confuse carpenter bees vs wasps.

That being said, when you know the differences, these species are pretty easy to tell apart from both their looks and their habits.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on carpenter bees vs wasps, and I hope it has helped protect your home and your family!


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