Do Carpenter Bees Have Teeth? – Mandibles vs Teeth

During spring, carpenter bees can be seen drilling into various unpainted wooden surfaces such as fences, fascia boards, eaves, and decks. If proper precautions are not taken, your wood could become a prime location for carpenter bees to make a home. This may bring up the question, do carpenter bees possess teeth?

With my 20+ years of pest control technician experience, I’ve dealt with carpenter bees infestations for years. In this article, we’ll be talking if carpenter bees have teeth and their overall anatomy!

do carpenter bees have teeth

Carpenter bees are big, black solitary bees that look similar to bumblebees but have bare, shiny backs, whereas a bumblebee’s back is hairy. Unlike honey bees that reproduce in hives, carpenter bees drill into the wood in order to lay their eggs. Their holes are perfectly round and about 1/4 inch in diameter.

One look at them and you’d think they have teeth. But do carpenter bees have teeth?

Do Carpenter Bees Have Teeth?

Carpenter bees do not have teeth. Rather they have mandibles that they utilize like teeth to bite through the wood. Their mandibles (jaws) appear like little forceps located at the front of their face.

Some insects sting, others bite, but they rarely do both. Bees are famed for their stingers, but research shows that they can also bite. Amazingly, they have mouth parts that are adapted both to suck and chew. 

Since these bees mate in the spring, they always need a spot to make their home. The female bee drills into the wood while the male wards off any adversaries or intruders. Female Carpenter bees make openings in wood to store their eggs. 

Carpenter bees can bore or bite through wood at a pace of around one inch every five to six days. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, these wood-damaging bees can make burrows a few feet in length.

These bees are not perilous. Male carpenter honey bees don’t have a stinger, so regardless of how they appear forceful, it’s just a ploy to get you far away as possible from the home where its mate is breeding the eggs. While they may look scary, male carpenter bees are the ones most likely to dive-bomb your head with a whitish spot on their face.

Female Carpenter bees do have a stinger but are also not an aggressive species. They will only more than likely sting in the event that you trouble them first, for example, by attempting to smack them.

Carpenter Bees Mandibles Vs. Teeth

As mentioned above, carpenter bees don’t have teeth, they have mandibles. Mandibles are little forceps in front of their jaw that allow them to drill through wood as well as collect nectar.

carpenter bee mandibles

Mandibles are extremely important to carpenter bees survival because it allows them to build their nests which provides them with protection, as well as a place to mate and have their young! Along with this, it allows them to nectar and sugars from flowers which is the main source of food for their diet!

Mandibles are different than teeth though, and carpenter bees do not have teeth!

Take Action to Halt Their Drilling Process

Carpenter bees drill and bore into wood in perfectly symmetrical and tubular holes. These insects have an attraction to wood and tend to show a preference for clean, untreated, and unpainted wood. Bees have extensions or toothed edges on their mandibles. Carpenter bees do not have teeth so they use their mandibles to drill holes in wood and will take advantage if you don’t actively work to protect your wood.

In order to securely protect your wooden structure from them, you can easily get some home remedies to keep carpenter bees away or make your own carpenter bee trap. The female carpenter bee is the one who does the work and they are also easy to keep away once you employ the right DIY solutions to get rid of carpenter bees. Carpenter bees strongly dislike robust citric scents such as citrus oil so you might want to try that out. The best option would be to seek professional help before the situation escalates.

Final Thoughts On Carpenter Bees and Their “Teeth”

Many people often wonder, do carpenter bees have teeth? But to finally put the record straight, carpenter bees do not have teeth, they have mandibles! These mandibles allow them to eat as well as drill holes into wood to create their nests!


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