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Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Order: Hymenoptera (hy-men-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Apidae
Genus: Xylocopa
Species: virginica


5 positives
7 neutrals
1 negative


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Ozark, Alabama
Barling, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
Sherman, Connecticut
Brooksville, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Canton, Georgia
Cumming, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Woodstock, Georgia
Camp Point, Illinois
Cary, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Frankfort, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Murray, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Columbus, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Belton, Missouri
Cole Camp, Missouri
Beachwood, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Bellerose, New York
New York City, New York
Valatie, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Dover, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Akron, Ohio
Barberton, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Middleburg, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Dandridge, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Baytown, Texas
Keller, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Willis, Texas
Hot Springs, Virginia
Amma, West Virginia

By okus
Thumbnail #1 of Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) by okus

By okus

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By okus

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By ilovejesus99

Thumbnail #4 of Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) by ilovejesus99

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By pford1854

Thumbnail #6 of Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) by pford1854

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Thumbnail #7 of Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) by pford1854

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Member Notes:

Positive okus On Aug 5, 2006, okus from
(Zone 8b) wrote:

A great pollinator - when it uses the "official" way into the flowers. Sometimes it "cheats", on tubular flowers such as Mexican Petunias, by boring a hole through the tube to steal the nectar without getting itself covered in pollen. Carpenter bees are much maligned because they bore into wood to make their nests, but usually the damage they do to wood is just cosmetic.

Neutral Terry On Aug 14, 2006, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a) wrote:

On the plus side, they don't sting and they're pollinizers.

But on the negative side, they are pests, drilling holes into any exposed wood they find, and making a nuisance of themselves in the process.

Neutral sligo On Aug 14, 2006, sligo from Boston, MA
(Zone 6a) wrote:

Good polinators and non-stinging may be a plus, but they will "destroy" protective facia boards, soffits, and all other house trim boards they decide to call home, even pressure treated wood is not a deterent

Neutral Magpye On Aug 21, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a) wrote:

Carpenter bees cause alarm because they are large insects up to about an inch long resembling bumble bees, the territorial males harass humans and other animals that enter their terrain, and they are often found boring holes in structural timbers, such as rafters and fascia boards.

The males lack a stinger, but females have been known to deliver potent stings.

Carpenter bees are black, and they have yellow hairs on the thorax and first abdominal segment. Adults differ from bumble bees in that they are not social, the upper surface of the abdomen in mostly devoid of hairs, and the females have a brush of hairs on the hind leg instead of a pollen basket.

Males carpenter bees have white faces, but females have dark faces. This species occurs from New England and nearby Canada south to Florida and west to Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and east Texas. It is common in Arkansas.

Carpenter bees nest in tunnels in sound wood of dead trees and in structural timbers. They use both soft and hard woods, but they seem to prefer pines. They rarely cause significant damage. Both sexes pass the winter in old nest tunnels. They emerge in spring and mate.

Neutral jswords On Sep 21, 2006, jswords from columbus, MS
(Zone 7b) wrote:

My house has cedar siding, and it looks like pegboard in a wood shop! They are generally non agressive, but here the males seem to have black faces and the females have a yellow dot in the center of their face. Woe be to the person who upsets the female, she will chase you around!
Other that constant sweeping of sawdust, i don't mind them. Good thing, pest control says there is nothing that will kill them!

Positive Farmerdill On Sep 22, 2006, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a) wrote:

This is the best early pollinator available here, they work much earlier than bumbles. They will do cosmetic damage to houses where wood is exposed. All my machinery sheds are built of rough untreated pine so they have plenty of nesting sites with out bothering anything else.

Positive ilovejesus99 On Apr 3, 2007, ilovejesus99 from Baytown, TX
(Zone 9b) wrote:

This year there were more than I have seen in years. I hope this means more people are using organics.

They are big and scarey but also bold and beautiful. I love to see them around and I know to leave them alone.

Neutral Grandmaggie On May 22, 2007, Grandmaggie from Beachwood, NJ
(Zone 6b) wrote:

I am not too sure about this bug. I was not aware of it until I saw little holes in my house (outside). My home is wood sided. And there they were! Chomping away as I watered the gardens. Yes they are very territorial as I walk to my big shed I can hardly get in. Not decided how to handle the situation as of yet....

Neutral CaptMicha On May 7, 2008, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD
(Zone 7a) wrote:

While these insects do have beneficial qualities, they're very annoying. Not only do they drill holes in my wood deck but I've been confronted more than once by one flying right next to my face, trying to intimidate me. Even though I had been just sitting there, not making any movement to alarm or surprise it and not near it's nest.

Positive primus285 On Aug 28, 2008, primus285 from Barberton, OH wrote:

Mostly harmless clumsy insects. The black females DO HAVE STINGERS, but havent shown any interest in attacking. The males are much more agressive (have a white face) and DO NOT have stingers. Just throw something that is bee shaped (like a rock) somewhere and they will go after it. They do drill holes all over the place, but on the plus size, they do keep the wasps away (usually a dozen or so nests, none since the bees moved in). Holes seem to be only cosmetic. Unfortunately I think the wood might be treated, and the exposure to it seems to be harming the bees. They constantly attack eashother and never seem to be able to get into their nests. Regurarlly see one or two dying on the ground (presumably from exhasution from entering the nest) One post above says nothing will kill them, that is incorrect, one substance that seems to kill all insects is Acetone and is avalible at any hardware store. A focused stream of acetone works best and will kill the insect about 5 seconds after it is hit by it.

Positive mslehv On Oct 13, 2009, mslehv from Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b) wrote:

These bees seem to be the predominant genus in my gardens. They are particularly attracted to Sedums and Agastache. However, feeding on Sedum Brilliant seems to dramatically slow them down and sometimes, actually kill them.

I have also noted some type of interaction between them that seems quite purposeful. I saw two bees that were noisily tumbling around on the ground. One then hovered in a fixed position about ten inches above the other for more than a minute, watching the other until it ceased to move. That's a pretty good attention span for a relatively simple creature.

I've had no problem with aggressiveness. In fact, I will sometimes gently push them out of the way so I can get my gardening chores (such as deadheading) done.

Negative Dennislm On Feb 11, 2012, Dennislm from Ozark, AL wrote:

The bees may well be benefical to plants and gardening, But they are literally EATING me out of my cedar home. It is much more than cosmetic. I buy small cigars ,(cigarillios) cut them about 1 inch long, and push the pcs into the holes. Bees don't like tobacco.

Neutral Bharat_Sanghavi On Sep 14, 2012, Bharat_Sanghavi from Trenton, NJ
(Zone 6b) wrote:

it seem like these bees can't find their own nesting place, since they always bump into each other or walls or even humans ! they most of the time frighten people by hovering around your nose and eyes. though don't bite if you ignore them.

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