Are Carpenter Bees Active Year Round?

Carpenter bees pollinate flowers while feeding.
Carpenter bees pollinate flowers while feeding. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Carpenter bees are similar in look to bumble bees. The main difference is that carpenter bees have shiny, black, hairless abdomens while bumble bees have hairy abdomens with some yellow coloring. Although male carpenter bees are known to be aggressive, they do not have a stinger like the female does. The biggest problem people have with carpenter bees is when the bee burrows a tunnel into the wood of a home, leaving half inch circles a few inches deep with tunnels veering off at 90 degree angles.

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During the fall, carpenter bees emerge from their burrowed cells for the first time as full grown adults. This transition usually begins in August and goes through September. Carpenter bees will feed during this time, preparing for winter.


As winter begins, the carpenter bee will return to the place it was born. The carpenter bee is not active at all during this time of year; instead it goes into a state of hibernation. Some carpenter bees don't survive the cold winters.


Beginning in April, carpenter bees re-emerge. This season is the busiest time of life for a carpenter bee. The carpenter bee will mate and make new burrows if necessary for the next generation of carpenter bee. The female will lay eggs in newly created or previously used wooden tunnels.


Summertime is the time of death for carpenter bees. After laying eggs during the spring, the carpenter bee's short life ends before it is a full year old. Death occurs in July, the new cycle starting all over again in August.


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