Carpenter bees are a species of bee that is pretty common around the world. They are fairly large and make their nests in wood of all shapes and sizes. This can present a problem for those of us who use wood in our homes. If you’re concerned that you may have an infestation of carpenter bees in your home or business, consult the experts at Richland Pest and Bee Control in CT.
What do carpenter bees look like?
The carpenter bee is a rather large bee. The largest species can be as long as an inch. The thorax of the carpenter bee is covered by yellow, orange or white hairs, while the rest of the bee is black. The female carpenter bee will have a black head but the male will have white markings on his head. They all have thick hairs on their back legs. The male bee does not have a stinger, just like the honey bee, while the female does have a stinger and will sting if threatened.
It is not uncommon for carpenter bees to be mistaken for bumble bees. The differences are subtle unless you know what you are looking for. Bumble bees will have yellow hairs on the abdomen while carpenter bees will have a black abdomen. Bumble bees will also have pollen baskets on their back legs while carpenter bees have none. Also, carpenter bees will nest in wood, generally off the ground in trees while bumble bees make their nests in the ground.
What do carpenter bees eat and where do they live?
As has already been mentioned, carpenter bees live in nests made in wood. They do not, however, eat the wood. In this they are very similar to carpenter ants. They tend to live much more solitary lives than their cousins, the honey bee. It is not unheard of for a carpenter bee to live on its own for quite some time. The females of the species will sometimes form a familial group, a sisterhood if you like, where sisters and mothers and daughters will live in close proximity to one another and may sometimes join their nests together, keeping thin pieces of wood between their various cells. When this does happen there is evidence that the work load is shared between the bees. One or two may become guards while the rest forage and bring back food for the others.
A structure doesn’t have to be completely wooden to attract a hive. Carpenter bees can also live in homes or structures with vinyl siding, aluminum siding and brick because of the wood underneath.
The holes that the carpenter bee make in the wood measure just over half an inch wide and are often circular and on the underside of the chosen branch. Unlike the carpenter ant, they do not just burrow, they may actually reuse some of the wood and build partitions within the nest.
How do they damage your home?
Carpenter bees are not too picky when it comes to the wood that they choose to nest in. They only require that there is sufficient room and a sufficient food supply nearby. As such, they may end up nesting inside the wood of your home or under an outdoor bench made of wood. The damage that they do can be extensive, burrowing 1-2 feet into a structure, and since the female can sting and will do so if provoked, it is important to have the bees removed professionally by Richland Pest and Bee Control in CT, especially if there is a person in the vicinity that is allergic to bee venom.
If the bees are left to their own devices and the food supply is sufficient they may stay in one place for many generations. This can cause significant cosmetic damage to the wood they have chosen to nest in as each successive generation will be larger and more nests will need to be excavated.
There is also the possibility that they will destroy your flowers as they slit the sides of the flower and rob it of nectar instead of going the more conventional route and pollinating the plants as insects should.
How do you get rid of and prevent a carpenter bee nest?
How can you prevent these little buggers from sharing your home? Richland Pest and Bee Control’s licensed exterminators can apply a bee barrier around your home to prevent infestations of all kinds of stinging insects. This preventative treatment can be performed annually, and is applied to peaks, eaves, gutters, fascia, soffit, overhangs, trim boards, vents of the attic, window frames, shutters, door frames, foundation, decks and fireplaces. Give us a call at Richland Pest & Bee Control for more information about bee barriers.
If you already have a carpenter bee infestation, you should call Richland Pest & Bee Control right away. You can help them out by finding the nesting sites and taking a note or a drawing of where they all are, but it is not a good idea to try to exterminate the bees on your own. Although the male bee does not have a stinger, the nests that you find are most likely going to be inhabited by female carpenter bees which do have stingers and do not take kindly to being exterminated. There is a large risk of being stung if you try to get rid of the bees on your own. Please do not try to get rid of the nest yourself.
As with most insect infestations, the earlier on you spot the problem and call us in to deal with it the better. Smaller numbers of bees are easier to deal with and a lot less dangerous. Just be sure that you do not give it a try as you are likely to get stung a number of times. Since 1977, we have been dealing with these nests, so we know how to vacate the bees as safely and as efficiently as possible.
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