Everything you need to know about carpenter bees

Everything you need to know about carpenter bees

Carpenter bees, also known as wood bees, are a common nuisance found throughout much of the United States. These large bees are most often seen during the spring and summer months, chewing intricate galleries in wooden structures and buildings. Their dime-sized circular tunnels can cause significant structural damage over time and should be treated by a pest control professional upon identification. If you’ve ever wondered the difference between bumblebees and carpenter bees, how they chew holes, or how to identify an infestation, read on!

Entomology of wood bees

Wood bees and bumblebees are somewhat similar in color, but wood bees are significantly larger, about an inch long. Wood bees also have a smooth and relatively hairless abdomen, while bumblebees are much hairier. Their behavior patterns are also quite different. Compared to a bumble bee’s hive and social system, carpenter bees are solitary and spend most of their time excavating spaces only in wood. Female carpenter bees can sting and do most of the tunneling activity, while males cannot sting, and can often be seen flying erratically to ward off predators.

The female bee will bore into the wood to the desired depth, then turn 90 degrees and dig a longer tunnel. She does not eat the wood, but chews it as sawdust. The first inch alone can take about a week, making the process quite slow. That said, bees sometimes add to existing tunnels, creating a complex network of galleries. After completing the tunnels, the female will lay 6-8 eggs at the farthest point, in individual cells. In a few weeks, the eggs will hatch, leaving the newborns for several weeks before hibernating and starting the process all over again in the spring.

Identification of a wood bee infestation

Wood bees are highly dependent on artificial structures. They generally tend to tunnel on the sunny side of structures and prefer exposed, unpainted softwood such as found on sheds, porches, outdoor furniture, telephone poles, dead tree branches, sheds, railings, eaves, wooden shingles, etc. They often prefer wood with visible perforations, such as nail holes and saw cuts. So plain, painted and stained wood can sometimes deter carpenter bees, but don’t count on it! Some bees are more indiscriminate than others.

Identifying an infestation begins with learning about bee activity on your property. If you notice bees flying around a certain spot, even if you can’t visibly see a hole, it might be a good idea to examine the area more closely. You may be able to hear the sound of bees chewing on the wood, or see the remains of “sawdust” on the ground. Bees can drill directly from the bottom of the wood, making their holes difficult to find. If you notice any signs of infestation, contact Black Diamond as soon as possible.

Black Diamond has experience pest control equipment will provide you with a thorough assessment of any carpenter bee activity on your property. Not only will you receive helpful suggestions to help you avoid future carpenter bee infestations, but the team will also remove any current carpenter bee activity. For additional information or to schedule a free carpenter bee evaluation, call 877-DEAD-BUG today.

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