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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Eastern Carpenter Bee: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Eastern carpenter bee facts about the large carpenter bee species.

The eastern carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) belongs to the bee genus Xylocopa. This species is found widely in North America, but their population extends from the eastern United States to Canada. Carpenters feed on pollen and nectar from flowers. The behavior of this species is mostly calm, but they are very protective of their eggs. The eastern carpenter nests are hard to spot since they use deep tunnels in woods as their nests. The females of this species have the upper hand in every aspect of their life as a species.

While the eastern carpenter bee belongs to the family of bees, it is quite different from honey bees and bumblebees. This is despite the physical similarities between bumblebees and eastern carpenter bees. There are no queen or worker bees - only males and females in this species. Moreover, like honey bees and bumblebees, the eastern carpenter bee does not live in colonies. Eastern carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are morning foragers who feed on pollen and nectar, like bumblebees. There are many such interesting large carpenter bee facts that are listed below for your perusal. Afterward, do check our other articles on bumblebees and honey bees as well.  

Eastern Carpenter Bee Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an eastern carpenter bee?

An eastern carpenter (Xylocopa Virginica) bee is a bee. Carpenter bee has a short life span of only 2-3 years as with any other bee species.

What class of animal does an eastern carpenter bee belong to?

An eastern carpenter bee belongs to the insect class of animals. Their diet comprises pollen and nectar of flowers.

How many eastern carpenter bees are there in the world?

There is no exact and rough estimate on the number of eastern carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) in the world. This is wide because their number is too huge. The contributing factor to that is their size and the difficulties faced to find and mark them.

Where does an eastern carpenter bee live?

An eastern carpenter bee habitat can be found in the woods as well as in houses. They can survive and thrive in a wide range of habitats.

What is an eastern carpenter bee's habitat?

An eastern carpenter bee's habitat includes the inside of wood. They crave long tunnels in the wood and use them as nests. These species prefer their nesting sites to be unpainted woods. The tunnels created by them are very deep in the wood; some are even 18-19 in (45.72-48.26 cm) long. Eastern carpenter bees are known to be permanent settlers. Most of the female species live in the same wood nests for generations. But on the other hand, male eastern carpenter bees live for at most two weeks in a single territory. This species prefers places closer to flower trees so that they can collect pollen and nectar from the flowers. Eastern carpenter bees love to stay in solidarity, unlike bumblebees who live in colonies.

Who do eastern carpenter bees live with?

Eastern carpenter bees live in small social groups with their own species.

How long does an eastern carpenter bee live?

An eastern carpenter bee has a life cycle of two to three years. They have an average lifespan as compared to other species of bees.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of eastern carpenter bees is usually in March and April. The male carpenter bee finds a territory near a female carpenter bee's territory. They usually die soon after mating. The same is the case with the female carpenter bees, but they live a little longer to complete the nesting of their eggs and young ones. The males catch females in between flights in order to attempt mating; this is the usual mating behavior of this species. Large carpenter bees have a better chance at mating. After successful mating, the eggs are laid by females in the nests and she is helped by one or two other females. The females are responsible for feeding the larvae after hatching the eggs. The baby carpenter bees become independent in about 20-22 days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of an eastern carpenter bee is of Least Concern as their population is steady across their habitat.

Eastern Carpenter Bee Fun Facts

What do eastern carpenter bees look like?

Eastern carpenter bee diet comprises nectar and pollen of flowers.

Eastern carpenter bees are mostly black in color. They have a slight tint of metallic purple color which is brightly visible in the sunlight. The eastern carpenter bee vs bumblebee comparison will help you understand that eastern carpenter bees look very similar to the bumblebees, but they are more glossy. The males have a longer body than the females. The females, on the other hand, have larger heads than the males. They have 8 legs which have small hair on them. Sharp wedge-shaped maxillae are present on the front of their body to allow them easy access to the nectar by tearing down their way towards the nectar.

How cute are they?

For those who are not afraid of carpenter bees, eastern carpenter bees can look very cute. But let’s not forget these are insects, and having them around can get pretty ugly.

How do they communicate?

Eastern carpenter bees use pheromones in order to communicate. Pheromones are chemical signals that can be transmitted through air, water, soil, etc. Apart from that, eastern carpenter bees have a habit of using their wing vibrations to send a message. They generally communicate about nests, the safety of larvae, food storage, and more.

How big is an eastern carpenter bee?

An eastern carpenter bee is a very small bee. It can grow in length only between 0.5-1.0 in (1.27-2.54 cm). Its height doesn't exceed 0.5 in (1.27 cm). Eastern carpenter bees are 4-5 times bigger than ants. They are smaller than honey bees.

How fast can eastern carpenter bees move?

An eastern carpenter bee can move as fast as 12 mph (19 kph).

How much does an eastern carpenter bee weigh?

An eastern carpenter bee can weigh up to 0.0007 oz (1.98446 mg). They are very light in weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names assigned to the males and females of the eastern carpenter bee species. Unlike other bees, eastern carpenter bees do not have a queen bee or worker bees but instead males and females. The male is known as a male eastern carpenter bee and the female is known as a female eastern carpenter bee.  

What would you call a baby eastern carpenter bee?

A baby eastern carpenter bee is called a larva.

What do they eat?

Eastern carpenter bees eat pollen and nectar. They find a habitat where they will have easy access to pollen and nectar.

Are they harmful?

Eastern carpenter bees are not harmful to humans like the bumblebees whose bites sting. But the eastern carpenter bees can cause serious damage to your wood.

Would they make a good pet?

Eastern carpenter bee's habitat consists of deep tunnels in woods. If you let an eastern carpenter bee roam freely in your house, it is very likely that they will dig up tunnels in wooden structures that can destroy your furniture and cost you a fortune. That is why having an eastern carpenter bee as a pet is not a good idea.

Did you know...

Eastern carpenter bee's sting does not hurt because they do not have a stinger; however, that is not the case with bumblebees.

Large eastern carpenter bees are called pollinators.

Uses of eastern carpenter bees

Eastern carpenter bees are very useful as pollinators. Some flower farmers purposefully attract eastern carpenter bees into their fields so that they can pollinate their fields. They are useful not only to the farmers but also to other insects who are in need of holes. For example, wasps use holes made by eastern carpenter bees to store their prey.

How to get rid of eastern carpenter bees

Eastern carpenter bees can be real trouble if they take over your house. Getting rid of them becomes essential to guard the integrity of your wooden furniture. Very simple techniques can be used for this purpose. The most commonly used technique is spraying insecticides near their nests. Some people fill their nests’ holes with putty or wood dust. Use of the word dust is less recommended since there is a chance they will dig through it. A tool called a bee trapper can also be used to attract and kill these bees.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including paper wasps, or common wasps.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Eastern carpenter bee coloring pages.

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