carpenter bee

Carpenter Bees

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What do carpenter bees look like?

  • Size: Up to 1 in. 
  • Color: Mostly black with some yellow markings; males have a white dot on their heads. 
  • Body Structure: Adult carpenter bees resemble bumble bees except that their abdomens are hairless and shiny black rather than being covered by patches of orange to yellow hair found on bumble bees.

Characteristics of carpenter bees

The life cycle of the carpenter bee is fairly brief, with eggs hatching a few days after being lain and reaching full maturity within 5-7 weeks. Females deposit a ball of pollen near their eggs, providing a source of nourishment for the offspring. Unlike some other bees, carpenter bees are not social insects.

carpenter bee drilling a hole in wood

When are carpenter bees commonly active?

  • Spring
  • Summer

What does a carpenter bee nest look like?

Carpenter bees don't actually live in nests like yellow jackets, wasps, and other stinging insects. Instead female carpenter bees bore holes into soft wood in order to lay eggs and provide a safe place for larvae to develop. 

Where do carpenter bees drill holes?

As mentioned above, carpenter bees prefer soft wood and are often found hovering around and drilling holes in untreated wood.  Fences, decks, and other wooden structures are common places to find these solitary bees drilling. 

What do carpenter bees eat?

Carpenter bees do not eat wood. Their diet typically consists of plant pollen and nectar. 

Are carpenter bees dangerous?

Carpenter bees are not necessarily aggressive, but females are capable of stinging and the health risks associated with this type of bee sting are the same as other stinging insects. Although medical attention isn't usually required, individuals who experience an allergic reaction should seek medical attention right away.

Although males are incapable of stinging, they are very territorial and will vehemently defend nesting sites by hovering nearby and attacking anyone or anything that they consider intruders. 

While the carpenter bees do not consume wood, the insects can cause repeat damage by returning to the same tunnels year after year. Additionally, other problematic and destructive pests, like carpenter ants, can invade holes bored by carpenter bees,  and woodpeckers may peck away at existing holes in order to eat larvae, causing additional structural harm.

Why do I have an carpenter bee infestation?

If your house or other wooden structures on your property have not been painted, stained, or otherwise treated, there's a good chance carpenter bees will start drilling their circular holes in it. 

How do I get rid of carpenter bees?

If you've noticed carpenter bees on your property and are concerned they're causing damage, you should contact an exterminator to positively identify the species and treat accordingly. 

At Miller Pest & Termite, we offer stinging insect control services for carpenter bees, yellow jackets, and other stinging insects. Reach out today to find out how our local pest control team can help you get rid of carpenter bees!

How can I prevent a carpenter bee problem?

In order to keep carpenter bees away, you should seal all cracks, gaps, and openings. Furthermore, you should always paint, stain, or treat wood to make it less appealing to these damaging pests. 

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