Carpenter bees are annoying pests. There are two different types that are differentiated by size. The large carpenter bees are larger than the small carpenter bees. Both are dark in color with yellowish hairs. The large carpenter bees build their nests through tunnels in wood, and the small carpenter bees use twigs and stems to build their nests. The males do not sting. The females will only sting when provoked. It is also possible for them to cause structural damage from the tunnels they build. If you think your home might be infested with carpenter bees, call Nashville Pest Control to help you protect your home from these annoying pests.
Appearance and Life-cycle:
Carpenter bees can be divided into two different groups—large carpenter bees and small carpenter bees. The large carpenter bee can be up to 1 ½ inch long, but the small one is only about a ½ inch. Their abdomens are dark with a range in color of black, greenish black, metallic blue, and purplish blue. Males might also have orange or yellow coloring on the face, but the females are completely black. Both males and females have yellowish hairs on the legs and thorax, but they aren’t as noticeable as they are on bumble bees.
They are solitary bees, so they do not reproduce as frequently as other pests. Each generation is only 6-10 bees. Generally, it takes about 7 weeks for a carpenter bee to reach adulthood. Newly developed adults will stay in the nest for several weeks before emerging.
Habitat and Behavior:
The large carpenter bees do not eat wood, but they do use it to create tunnels. Carpenter bees use these tunnels for nesting and a place to wait out the winter. And, they prefer unpainted and weathered softwood, like decks and porches. They return to the same place every year, because females prefer to inhabit existing nests.
If they do have to create a new nest, the females chew a hole in flat wood that is about ½ an inch wide. That hole goes perpendicular to the wood’s grain for about 2 inches. It then takes a right turn for up to 8 inches. Then the female creates brood cells in rows. In each cell, the female lays an egg, leaves a food ball, and then blocks off the chamber. After laying the eggs, the female dies. Small carpenter bees use other methods to create nests. They use twigs and stems to build nests. Females hide out in the nests during the winter. In the spring, they create nests similar to large carpenter bees.
Level of Danger:
Male carpenter bees do not sting, but they will fly around you until you walk away from their nest. They aren’t dangerous, but they look threatening. They will back off once you move away. The females will sting, but don’t unless they are threatened. There is a possibility of having an allergic reaction to a carpenter bee sting.
They can also cause structural damage from building their nests in wood.
Signs of Infestation:
You can easily tell if carpenter bees have infested your home from the presence of the holes in the wood from their nests. You might also see sawdust on the ground. They also leave behind a combination of pollen and bee excrement, which is a yellowish color. The male bees will also fly around your head if you are near their nest. It is annoying, but they do not sting. You might also see woodpeckers, because they eat immature carpenter bees.
One thing you can do to prevent carpenter bees from taking over your home is to paint and stain wood structures, so they will not want to build tunnels in the wood.
If you do see any signs of a carpenter bee infestation, it is imperative to call the professionals at Nashville Pest Control to get rid of the problem for you.