Pest Guide for Carpenter Bees
When you think of a bee, you probably think of a large, plump black and yellow-colored insect, and what you’re probably thinking of is a bumble bee. Carpenter bees are very similar in looks in that they are also black and yellow, but aren’t as yellow and aren’t as fuzzy. Carpenter bees are distinguished by their smooth, black abdomens and yellow thoraxes. They also tend to have a small white or cream-colored spot on their head.
There are around 500 species of carpenter bees, and they all get their name from their behavior – they build their nests in dead wood or bamboo. They do not, however, eat the wood. Instead, they tend to burrow into dry, unpainted, weathered wood such as windowsills, doors, decks, railings, fences, and wooden lawn furniture. This makes it easy for you to have a carpenter bee presence in your home or office.
Identifying an Infestation
Because carpenter bees are usually large, infestations are easily identified by their burrow holes in wood. If you find wood with holes that are about ½” in diameter, there’s a good chance they were made by carpenter bees. Another way to tell if your holes are bee holes is to look at the depth. Once a carpenter bee burrows about 1” deep, it turns and continues to burrow to the right or left. You can also look for yellowish pollen near the entrances and small piles of sawdust below the holes.
Since carpenter bees prefer unpainted and untreated wood, you can easily prevent their presence by painting or staining the wooden areas around your home. You can also use a spray repellent (best used in early spring months) and make sure you seal up any cracks and crevices around your home or office.
While many types of bees, hornets, and wasps sting, carpenter bees don’t often do so. The male bees never sting and the females are capable of doing so, but rarely do. This makes an infestation a little less intimidating. However, if you do find an infestation, you don’t want to risk it getting worse. Make sure you call our pest control specialists and set up an appointment. We’ll inspect the area and if we find a problem, we’ll solve it quickly and painlessly.