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What is a black bee?

When you envision bees, you may normally think of insects with thick yellow stripes, but some bees can have a darker appearance. If you’ve never seen black bees before, it's easy to become alarmed. The best solution is to first become more informed about them. Be sure to contact Western Exterminator or call us at 800-937-8398 if you are experiencing bee issues.

Generally speaking the term black bee is used to describe a number of species of bee. They are called black bee because they appear mostly black, although most black bees have other shades of color among the dark colors. A black bee stands out because it looks, sounds and behaves like a more standard bee, but they are dark colored and large portion of their bodies are jet black.

Black bee species

Carpenter bee

A carpenter bee is often described as looking like a large bumble bee, which of course, is yellow and black. However, there are species of carpenter bees that fall into the black bee category. The carpenter bee’s namesake comes from its customary piercing into wood to create passages for raising offspring. Certain carpenter bees are black-colored. 

There’s the valley carpenter bee, which is mainly located in valleys and lower foothills in California and Arizona. They are about ¾ inches long and the females are a black bee that have metallic reflections (males are golden brown or buff-colored). Mountain carpenter bees mainly occur in foothills and mountains in Arizona, Nevada, California and Oregon; males and females are black (yellow, white and black hairs appear on the male head). They are about ½ to ⅝ inches long.

So how damaging are carpenter bees? If lots of carpenter bees create numerous tunnels over a period of years, they can produce severe structural damage. Carpenter bees can also stain wood by defecation. Take note: They favor bare wood. These bees use places such as window trim, eaves, siding, and decks to nest. Males do not have stingers, and although the female sting is powerful, they seldom sting unless disturbed or handled.

How can you tell if a black bee is a carpenter bee?
Carpenter bees create round holes in wood. Their holes are dime-sized.

If not dealt with, carpenter bees can create damage to property. Take time to check your wood for signals of these bees - look for holes that are smooth and round. Get in touch with Western Exterminator for help.

Non-carpenter bees that can be called black bees

Leafcutting bee
The leafcutting bee is similar in size to a honey bee (on average) and commonly gray to black; its abdomen commonly has hair and white stripes. It totes its pollen in a pollen brush on its abdomen underbelly and not on its hind legs.

Leafcutting bees use locations such as cavities in wood or hollow stems for their nests. They can create cells or tunnels in rotting wood or in wood shingle siding. Nests can be lined with pieces of leaf or petal. Female leafcutting bees put pollen and nectar in the cells and lays eggs in them. These creatures spend the winter in the nests and then leave and mate.

It’s significant to note that leafcutting bees pollinate crops. But if they’re affecting your ornamental plants, you can try putting cheesecloth on the plants. On the plus side, their sting hurts less than the honeybee sting. You will likely only be stung if you handle a leafcutting bee.

Mining bee
Mining bees are a type of bee that can be dark in color. Medium in size, mining bees create nests in the ground. In most species, females have facial depressions. Mining bee nests can be found in gardens, around foundations of houses, under leaves of plants, in sandy zones, and in lawns.

Mining bees are solitary bees. At times, lots of mining bees nest near each other, especially if the ground is bare. Females in some species have a single nest entrance with separate tunnels. Mining bee holes have a diameter of about ¼ inch and a small soil mound can encircle them. Males and females spend the winter in their nests. These insects prefer nesting in regions where there is scant plant life.

Because mining bees are pollinators, controlling them isn’t recommended. Thankfully, they do not sting often. But one step is using a sprinkler to water your lawn. If treatment is really needed, the best option is to contact a professional. Reach out to Western Exterminator online today to discuss the best course of action.


Is a black bee more likely to sting than other bees?

In general, no. The various species of black bee are not more aggressive or likely to sting. In fact, since most of the time the insect referred to as a black bee is likely a carpenter bee, they are even less likely to sting and the sex of the bee might mean it doesn’t even have a stinger.

Black bee risks

Since most types of black bee are not high risk for stinging, do they pose any other kind of threat? The only real risk for a black bee is probably to wooden structures around your home or property. This is because most black bee species are forms of carpenter bees, who chew their way through wood to build nests.

Black bee infestation

If left unchecked, it is possible for black bees, or carpenter bees, to create an infestation around your home. A carpenter bee infestation can cause continued damage to wooden structures around your home and create serious damage to walls, decks, and even wooden patio furniture.

Although most types of black bee, including carpenter bees, are solitary and do not create large hives, a number of them can create their own nests and maze of tunnels in close proximity to each other, which can weaken wooden structures and create costly damage.

Get rid of black bees with Western Exterminator

Western Exterminator specialist are experts in getting rid of a black bee, or carpenter bee, infestation. We can do a property inspection of your home or business and find out what type of black bee is buzzing around your property. We can also determine if the black bee is a carpenter bee and if they have caused any kind of damage that will need to be looked at.

Western Exterminator black bee experts are ready to help find out what species of black bee is there, if there is a serious infestation, offer treatment options and then provide solutions to prevent them from returning. Contact your local Western Exterminator office today.

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