Carpenter bees are ‘nice’ native bees. These solitary bees are great pollinators, co-evolved with our native plants.
Two species of Xylocopa live in Florida, are about as big as bumblebees, and are distinguished by their shiny, black rumps. Pictured above is a carpenter bee nectaring on dotted horsemint, Monarda puctata.
These bees are not the arthropods of medical significance about which Dr. Roxanne Connelly, Extension Entomologist from the the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, spoke — the colonial imported bees, European honeybees and Africanized honeybees. Male carpenter bees cannot sting, and female carpenter bees only sting if molested.
These beneficial bees make their ‘homes’ in wood, as you would guess from their name. Stumps, logs and dead branches are their native ‘habitat’. Occasionally, they become ‘pests’ by burrowing into the unpainted or unvarnished wood of human structures.