One of the surest signs of warm weather is the arrival of carpenter bees. Each year, the adults will over-winter in abandoned nests, emerging in the spring to feed on nectar. We get a lot of phone calls about these particular pests, and for good reason! They can become not only a serious nuisance, but can pose a threat to your property as well. Read on to learn a little bit more about carpenter bees, and what makes them different than your average bee.
Carpenter Bees are Solitary Insects
Carpenter bees are solitary, and therefore do not live in nests or colonies that other bees are known for. In fact, each individual hole you can see them coming in and out of is typically a separate nest. Females will bore holes into the wood using their mandibles. They will go straight in, creating a hole the same diameter as their body, and then turn to follow the grain of the wood. Unlike wasps, carpenter bees have been known to reuse existing nests, also called galleries. The females will create open spaces within these galleries, known as cells, and will lay her eggs here.
Male Carpenter Bees Can’t Sting
A sometimes surprising fact, male carpenter bees lack the ability to sting. However, they will show signs of aggression when they are trying to protect their territory. They are simply showboating and trying to get you to leave by hovering in your face or diving towards you. In reality, they can’t harm you. Females on the other hand, do have a pretty potent sting, but they will rarely use it.
Carpenter Bees Can Cause Structural Damage
Carpenter bees are a serious property threat, and can cause structural damage over time if they are allowed to go untreated. They have a preference for soft, untreated wood for building their galleries. Over time, these galleries can extend up to 10ft long, which can easily compromise the integrity of the structure depending on where the nest is located. Imagine taking a very long drill bit, and drilling a quarter inch round hole all the way along the length of your structural support beam in your home. Now you can see why this may become a major issue.
Preventing Carpenter Bees
Due to their preference for bare, untreated wood, painting or staining wood can sometimes deter them. That is not a foolproof method though, and carpenter bees will still attack painted or treated wood in many cases. Make sure to routinely inspect your property for signs of activity. Contact us online or at 1-800-308-9126 if you suspect an infestation. Bee control can be tricky for homeowners and we have the tools and experience needed to make it a safe and simple fix for you. We can treat your existing nests and provide a preventative treatment to stop them from returning throughout the season. Learn more about our preventative Bee Barrier here.