We all know that bees are an essential part of the ecosystem as a whole. They have indispensable roles in keeping the life cycle of most flower bearing plants going because like what we have learned since primary school, bees become natural pollinators as they fly from flower to flower to collect their sweet nectar. But other than the famous honey bees, there are other species of bees that equally share a spot in the bee limelight; this is the carpenter bee and the bumble bee.
No, I am not talking about transformers, particularly the yellow car turning into an alien robot with the same name; I am talking about the real live species of bees. The reason that the carpenter bee and the bumble bee are often mentioned in the same sentence or article is because they have many similarities as to appearance and behavior which is also the reason why these two separate species of bees are usually mistaken for each other.
For one thing, the carpenter bee and the bumble bee do not live in colonies like the famous honey bees and “killer” bees that we hear so much about in the news and even in movies. These bees are solitary beings that only interact with members of their own kind during mating and spawning season, the bumble bee creates a well protected and well camouflaged burrow in loose dirt where it can seek refuge and lay eggs.
On the other hand, the carpenter bee got its name because it prefers to build its nest among different kinds of tree trunks and unprotected or unpainted wooden parts of house, this also the reason why carpenter bees have been labeled troublesome by home owners around the globe.
But the two species are often confused for each other and people often mistake a bumble bee for a carpenter bee or vice versa, the reason behind this is because they closely resemble each other in terms of size and body built, the only real difference is in the bees’ abdominal areas, or the large rear part of the bee. The bumble bee has a hairy abdomen with yellow stripes here and there while the carpenter bee has a bare and shiny abdomen which is purely black in color and without any other color highlights.
Another difference between the carpenter bee and the bumble bee is their temperament, bumble bees have been known to be more aggressive and protective of their territories while carpenter bees are more subdued and only the female carpenters can pack a painful sting.