Carpenter Bee Pest Identification in the Chicagoland Area

The buzz of a bee is often distinct and easily recognizable. Bees may occasionally mosey into your garden or meander through your flowerbeds. However, sometimes, several bees will make a home on your Chicago, IL property, and they can pose a nuisance or hazard to you and your family.

To learn more about the carpenter bee specifically, take a look at the following information. We’ll discuss how to identify a carpenter bee, where they like to collect, how to spot an infestation, and if carpenter bees are apt to sting.

Carpenter Bee Characteristics

carpenter-bee-pictureCarpenter bees are often confused with bumble bees, but they aren’t quite as furry as the iconic bumble bee. The size of carpenter bees can vary from half an inch to one inch, and they are predominantly black in color, though some have yellow markings on their head. And while bumble bees are known as social insects, carpenter bees are fairly solitary.

Carpenter Bee Habitats

Carpenters prefer to nest in wooden structures or trees, and they burrow into the surface of the wood to create cells for the bees to collect and lay eggs. As they tunnel, their little bodies vibrate while they scrape their mandibles on the wood. And because carpenter bees are mostly loners, they make rather small nests where daughters and mothers may reside.

Most of the time, a single generation of carpenter bee stays in one nest. With such small nests, it’s not uncommon for several little nests to be near one another.

Signs of a Carpenter Bee Infestation

If you’ve seen numerous carpenter bees around your home, check your home’s eaves, deck, surrounding trees, or other wooden structures on your property. Carpenter bees often collect in these areas, and you might be able to spot little nest openings in the wood. These openings are about half an inch wide, and carpenter bees may also leave bits of coarse sawdust around their nests.

Carpenter Bee Stings

While the general presence of bees can often elicit a mild panic, carpenter bees don’t sting frequently. Male carpenter bees don’t have any stingers, and male carpenter bees are the ones you see out and about most often. However, if they are provoked, they may hover threateningly to scare their offenders.

Females have stingers, but they aren’t quick to sting. They only sting in extreme situations, such as being grasped in someone’s hand or something similar.

If you are stung by a carpenter bee, treat the sting as you would any other bee sting. Don’t raise the sting above the heart, and carefully use your fingernail or credit card to remove the stinger. Once the stinger is out, use a cold compress to reduce the swelling and pain, and take some mild pain pills for the remaining discomfort.

If you experience severe swelling, difficulty breathing, nausea, unconsciousness, or shock, seek help immediately.


When carpenter bees invade your property, they can cause minor damage to your home or trees. And if you or one of your family members have an allergy to bee stings, even the normally docile carpenter bees can pose a risk.

To rid your home of carpenter bees and keep your family safe, call Chem-Wise for environmentally friendly carpenter bee pest control. We happily service Chicago, IL; Rolling Meadows, IL; and the surrounding areas.