We have a variety of bees with unique attributes. Among the different species, one that is easy to recognize is Carpenter bees. That’s because they hover around and love creating tunnels in wood, which is one of the biggest signs of carpenter bees.
But how do carpenter bees defend themselves? Do carpenter bees sting? And how do they react when provoked?
To get answers to those questions, let’s start by looking into carpenter bee biology and understanding what they look like.
Do Carpenter Bees Sting?
Only female carpenter bees can sting. If a carpenter bee moves towards you, darting and flying aggressively, it is probably a male. That’s because they want to scare you away from their territory and not necessarily to harm you. Consider it to be their defense mechanism. So it’s common to find them dive-bombing something they deem as a threat. It goes without saying, carpenter bees don’t have teeth like some people believe.
But one thing to keep in mind is that the male carpenter bees do not have a stinger, meaning they do not sting. Their aggressive behavior only stems from their responsibility to safeguard the nest from other flying insects. They’ll also do so when mating with the female bees. Recognize the differences between male and female carpenter bees.
When it comes to stingers, it is the female bees that have those. And the stingers are laden with venom. Yet, female bees are not aggressive but will only attack when provoked or if they feel threatened by your presence.
Carpenter Bees Sting If Provoked
As mentioned above, male carpenter bees don’t have a stinger, but they will do their best to protect their nest if something is perceived as a threat or if they’re provoked. If you have male carpenter bees buzzing around you, this is generally their effort in being intimidating to tell you to back away.
Female carpenter bees do have a stinger, and they can and will sting if you are provoking them. Generally speaking females aren’t very likely to sting you unless you are too close to their nest and won’t leave them alone.
Are Carpenter Bees Aggressive?
Carpenter bees generally are not aggressive. They will protect their nest when they feel it is being threatened, but they generally won’t go out of their way to be aggressive to humans or other animals.
Are Carpenter Bee Stings Dangerous?
For most people, carpenter bee stings are not overly dangerous. They might be painful for a short period of time and you might see some redness and swelling, but unless you have an allergic reaction you won’t see any serious or longterm effects.
If you start to notice severe swelling around the sting site, as well as other parts of your body, nauseous, headaches or feeling dizzy, then contact a medical professional.
If you are worried about carpenter bee stings, you should consider using a natural solution such as a citrus spray to repel carpenter bees or other ways to get rid of carpenter bees!
Do Carpenter Bees Lose Their Stingers?
No, carpenter bees don’t lose their stingers. This means carpenter bees might be more willing to sting because they don’t lose their stinger.
Do Carpenter Bee Stings Hurt?
Carpenter bee stings can be painful, especially as it happens. That being said the pain typically doesn’t last longer than a day or two and will subside rather quickly.
Carpenter bee stings are similar in terms of pain to a bumblebee sting but are generally less likely to sting than other types of bees since only female carpenter bees have stingers. So your risk of a carpenter bee sting is pretty low.
What To Do If You Get Stung By A Carpenter Bee?
If you got stung by a carpenter bee, what should you do?
When stung, there is an immediate and sharp pain you feel, also accompanied by a burning sensation around the area where you got stung. But since these bees do not lose their stinger after attacking, there is no need to bother with removing a stinger from your skin. You only have to start treating the area at once.
- Clean the area you were stung in order to prevent infection. Soap and warm water should be used to rinse the skin around the sting.
- Use a cold compress, a cold washcloth, or a cold gel pack on your skin to calm the swollen area
- Where the pain persists, over-the-counter pain meds can help. You can also apply a cream that contains an antihistamine like Benadryl which reduces swelling.
In all, seek medical attention if your attempt to remedy the stinging sensation on your own proves unsuccessful. Mayo Clinic has a full guide on what to do if stung by bees and you’re feeling a significant allergic response.
Thankfully a carpenter bee sting is quite rare as they are more docile than even bumble bees.
How To Prevent Being Stung By Carpenter Bees
If you unexpectedly end up nearby to a carpenter bee nest, it’s best to remain calm. These bees aren’t very aggressive unless they believe you’re a threat.
So if you are nearby to these bees, just slowly back away, and try not to swing your arms or make any sudden movements. Carpenter bees generally are pretty laidback and will leave you alone as long as you leave them alone.
Can Carpenter Bees Bite?
No carpenter bees can’t bite, but female carpenter bees can sting if they are feeling provoked, but it’s unlikely.
Overall you shouldn’t be too afraid of carpenter bees, as they generally will just go about their business. That being said, if they’re causing destruction to your home, then, of course, you’ll want them gone! View our guide on removing carpenter bees.