Why Do Carpenter Bees Fight Each Other?

Last Updated November 25th 2022: Carpenter bees get their name from their habit of boring into wood. They do not eat wood but only cause damage to structures as they build their nests, and these insects achieve this by drilling circular holes which creates tunnels inside the wood. 

Not being social insects, these species build their individual nests into sides of buildings or frames. If you’ve observed the living habits of these bees, especially during mating periods, you might wonder: “Why do carpenter bees fight each other?” 

why do carpenter bees fight each other

Do Carpenter Bees Fight With Other Carpenter Bees?

Generally carpenter bees won’t fight with other carpenter bees or try to kill other carpenter bees. But they will do things to deter carpenter bees from approaching their nests and their mates. This could include them buzzing around and dive bombing other bees, but generally this is just to show that their nest or mate is taken.

carpenter bees fighting

Carpenter bees typically won’t fight among themselves but simply adopt this seemingly aggressive behavior as a way to keep other male bees out while flirting with female bees. So when you see male carpenter bees trying to gain entry into a territory to mate with lady carpenter bees, it’s normal to assume they are fighting. But, in reality, that is just part of their courtship behavior.

The male carpenter bees are able to achieve this by hurling themselves at other carpenter bees ( dive-bombing). They combatively fly towards their counterparts as a way of kicking them out of the territory they have taken over. While people observe these battles, it is usually surprising to them. The male carpenter bees do not attack people but are pretty much harmless because they do not have stingers.

Male carpenter bees defend their territories against rivals and other insects by putting up aggressive behaviors. The act is usually characterized by head-butting, grappling in mid-air, and knocking each other to the ground. They are able to threaten pets and humans by flying in their faces aggressively, even if they don’t actually intend to harm. So it’s usually a common occurrence to find people running whenever the bees start to act up.

Why Do Carpenter Bees Fight?

Carpenter bees will fight to fearlessly defend their nest and their territory from other carpenter bees, and predators such as wasps and hornets. Although carpenter bees generally aren’t very aggressive, they will defend their nest as their lives depend on it.

Do Female Carpenter Bees Fight Too?

Fighting each other is more of a male carpenter bee activity, That’s why it’s good to be able to differentiate the males from the females. 

Recognizing the carpenter bees starts by looking at the bee’s abdomen. They come with a shiny, black leathery abdomen with no fuzz. Males have white or yellow faces while females have black faces. It is quite easy to spot males when they are flying in your face. That’s because females will barely ever try to get in your face. 

But keep in mind that only the females have the ability to sting. Although not designed to have a combative disposition, they will sting only while defending themselves or their nests.

Final Thoughts On Fighting Carpenter Bees

Whenever you see male carpenter bees trying to gain entry into a territory to mate with lady carpenter bees, it’s normal to assume they are fighting. But, in reality, that is just part of their courtship behavior.

Carpenter bees might be good pollinators but they become pests the moment they show up on your property. That’s because they drill holes into the wood of decks, porches, etc. So take steps to control them by applying different elimination methods. Better still, seek the assistance of a professional exterminator. 

Overall I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide where we talked a bit more about why do carpenter bees fight each other and what’s actually going on when you see carpenter bees buzzing at each other.

Resources:

https://union.ces.ncsu.edu/2021/05/carpenter-bees-5/

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!