Eastern carpenter bees resemble bumblebees but have a noticeably black, shiny abdomen. (Bumblebees, although about the same size and shape, have a noticeably fuzzy abdomen, usually with a prominent yellow band across it.) Carpenter bees are solitary and make their nests in wood. A small pile of sawdust beneath a hole about 3/8 inch in diameter is a clue to their presence.
As with many members of the ants, bees and wasps group, the females are capable of stinging, but not the males. The males often startle people with their aggressiveness in territorial hovering, but while they do check out anything new in their territories, they are uninterested in people.
After emerging from the nests, the young adults fly and feed briefly before overwintering in the tunnels. Mating occurs the following spring. The white-faced males are often seen at this time hovering in a pendulous, bobbing dance near nests, waiting for females.
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