Do carpenter bees sting?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: unless you’re Winny the Pooh, and you stick your fingers in a bee nest looking for honey, you’ll probably be fine.
Carpenter bees can be scary! They’re big. They’re loud. And the ones you’re most likely to see buzzing about–the male carpenter bee– is aggressively territorial. They patrol in a limited area around their nest and dart at anyone or anything that comes close. Thankfully, they’re more of a nuisance than a threat – more buzz than bite (or sting), if you will.
Why? Male carpenter bees do NOT sting. Other than occasionally flying toward your head, they’re completely harmless.
Like other types of bees, namely the honey bee, only female carpenter bees sting. But the female carpenter bees are usually quite docile and rarely do so unless directly provoked – like say, sticking your finger in their nest and wiggling it around. Carpenter bees like nesting in old, untreated wood. We used to get them every year in an old sawhorse and in the stairs leading up to our deck. You also might see them buzzing around an old deck or seen the eaves of your house, another common carpenter bee nesting area. Look for little piles of sawdust – that’s the telltale sign of a carpenter bee nest. If you get near the nest, you’ll likely be greeted by a male bee racing toward your head – but don’t panic! Carpenter bees don’t sting.
- Information on bee sting treatment.