Do you think your home could be a hotspot for carpenter bees? Here are some facts and helpful tips that can help protect your home from these wood-damaging pests.
First things first, what is a carpenter bee?
Commonly mistaken for bumblebee’s due to their size, but they are very different from their relatives. Carpenter bees are one of multiple species belonging to the Xylocopa genus and they get their names from their unique nesting habits. They can also be referred to as wood bees, wood boring bees, mason bees, termite bees, and big black bees.
Carpenter bees have a shiny, blackish-blue abdomen (hind section), and the thorax (mid-section) is where you would see the common yellow, orange, and white hairs. They have thick black hair on their legs and are typically ¾” to 1” in length.
What are some signs that you could have carpenter bees?
Depending on your location, carpenter bees are most active in the spring when they emerge from their nests to begin the mating and nesting process again.
Carpenter bees do their nesting in untreated, unpainted, and weathered wood. These pests prefer softer woods such as pine, redwood, cypress, and cedar. The holes they drill are perfectly round and typically ½” in diameter. When making their nests, the females will use their mouthparts called “mandibles” to drill through the wood leaving behind a pile of sawdust at the base of the nest; this is the first and most common indication that there could be an infestation of carpenter bees.
The tunnels that the females make are known as “galleries” and can be more than 2 ft in length with multiple subchannels branching off. These subchannels are where the female will lay her eggs. Just one female carpenter bee will make 3-5 chambers per subchannel. Once the chambers are built, the female carpenter bee will place a pollen-nectar “bee bread” in each chamber to act as a first meal after the carpenter bee hatches. After each chamber is finished, the female will work backwards toward the entrance and seal each chamber off using wood pulp that the new carpenter bee will eat its way through when it hatches in the summer months.
You will also see a yellow-brown tint located at the base of the holes. This is caused by carpenter bee feces and is incredibly difficult to remove.
The male carpenter bees will act as guardian outside of the nests. Their behavior is known to be aggressive, fortunately, they do not have a stinger, so they are essentially harmless.
Carpenter bees do not live in colonies like honeybees and bumblebees, but they will return to the same nesting area year after year.
Common areas that carpenter bees can be found nesting are Wood siding, fascia boards, wooden patio furniture, privacy fencing, undersides of decking, children’s swing sets and more.
Wood destroying insects are responsible for causing billions of dollars in damages across the country every year, so here’s what you can do to protect your home and your bank account in the coming seasons.
· Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and any wooden debris that could be sitting in your yard.
· Caulk the cracks in the exterior walls, foundation of your home, and seal gaps in the roofline.
· Varnish, stain, or paint any wooden structures on your property that could be a target for carpenter bees.
· Be vigilant. If you notice any signs of carpenter bees, call your local pest control company as soon as possible. Sometimes multiple treatments are needed to take care of the issue, so the sooner the signs are caught, the safer your home will be.
It is important to hire a professional when treating carpenter bees. Here at Essential Pest Control, our technicians are trained to use insecticides to directly treat any tunnel openings and around the infestation area. We will leave the tunnel open for a few days to allow the bees to contact and distribute the insecticide throughout the nest. Then, we will go through and plug up each gallery entry to stop any further digging. The products we use will deter other bees from coming and trying to nest in the same area.
Our goal here at Essential Pest is to ensure that your home and family remain pest free each season. If you think that your home could be a target for carpenter bees or any pest, give us a call for a free quote at 937-474-2004!