Like fighter jets swooping down from the sky, armed with razor sharp tools to carry out their agenda, they’re strong – intimidating – and dressed to kill! They are carpenter bees on a mission!
These ladies are determined to find the best deals on the real estate market this spring and that unstained deck in your backyard adds a rustic look that brings out a certain charm. The market is also buzzing with other opportunities around your property!
The females are soon-to-be-mothers and diligently looking for potential nesting sites to lay eggs. Once they select their home, they begin drilling holes by vibrating their bodies and using their mandibles like miniature jigsaws.
A perfect circular entrance hole, around a half-inch wide, forms the entrance way to a tunnel and now you have an undesirable neighbor living nearby! Let’s see how we can identify a carpenter bee infestation and explore options on how to evict them for good!
What are Carpenter Bees?
Carpenter bees get their name from the fact that they like to bore holes in wood. They don’t actually eat wood, but they do inflict structural damage by digging circular holes in it to create nesting tunnels. Carpenter bees are solitary insects unlike honey bees or bumble bees, who live in groups, and instead build individual nests in trees or in the supports, eaves, or sides of homes.
What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?
They are a big species of bee that can range in length from a half-inch to one and a half inches.
Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees in appearance, but their abdomens lack yellow markings. Their abdomens are smooth and glossy, while bumble bee abdomens are hairy and yellow.
Carpenter bees come in a variety of shapes and sizes, since there are seven distinct varieties in the United States and hundreds worldwide. Eastern carpenter bees, for example, closely resemble bumble bees in appearance, with streamlined black bodies and a fringe of yellow fur on the thorax. California and female valley carpenter bees, for example, have more metallic, vivid bodies.
Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?
Despite the fact that female carpenter bees have stingers, they are docile and only sting when provoked, handled, or swatted.
Male bees, on the other hand, may seem aggressive (they’ll Dive Bomb you!) when searching for mates or defending their nests, but they are completely harmless because they lack stingers.
Carpenter bees also have the habit of returning to the same location to nest year after year, causing enough holes and tunnels to undermine the structural integrity of your home.
What Kind of Damage is Caused by Carpenter Bees?
Carpenter bees can be a significant property hazard that, if left untreated, will cause structural damage over time, particularly if they bore holes for nesting on the property. Additionally, the bee larvae that grow in the nesting tunnels in homes attract predators like woodpeckers that will dig into the wood to get to their tasty treat. They also allow opportunities for other wood-boring insects to enter the home and do more extensive damage.
Signs of a Carpenter Bee Infestation:
- Holes that are about a half-inch in diameter usually in wood that is unfinished, weathered or bare.
- Sawdust piles lying underneath the area where the holes are located.
- Aggressive behavior from the Males around the nesting area trying to protect their nest.
- Yellow staining underneath the hole from fecal matter.
Getting Rid of a Carpenter Bee Infestation
Since they are stinging insects, it would be safest to contact a professional exterminator like Procor Pest Control.. A professional is able to treat the nesting holes and the areas surrounding the nesting holes with a variety of different materials that will help to eliminate the adults as well as the larvae.
Once the current population is gone, it is a good idea to cover the nesting holes with wood putty, caulk or silicone. You can also stuff steel wool into the holes as well. This will prevent the same holes from being used again in the future but other Carpenter Bees.
Treat in the spring when they first emerge, and again in mid-summer to get rid of any remaining bees that might have survived the winter. In the fall, fill the holes with wood putty or wooden dowels and have the entire surface painted or varnished.
Carpenter Bee Prevention
There’s no easy way keeping these little homesteaders from making nests in your home but there are certain preventive measures that can be taken to cut down on what the carpenter bee prefers.
- Paint or stain any exposed wood on your property or on the outside of your home since carpenter bees don’t like creating holes in treated wood.
- Caulk and treat the existing bee holes several weeks after treatment.
- Use hardwood instead of softer woods when building new structures.
Use a professional treatment program for ongoing prevention.