Recognizing Carpenter Bees and the Damage That They Cause
June 6, 2016
Have you ever seen little piles of sawdust under wood that has perfectly circular holes in it? If so, you've seen the masterwork of a carpenter bee. No one likes bees. They sting, fly, and buzz and although they are beneficial to the environment, they can be harmful and a nuisance to humans. One type of bee, the carpenter bee, tends to drill into the outside of homes, ruining the wood. This article will help you learn how to identify them, what damage they cause on humans and homes, and how you can treat/prevent them. Female bees make their nests in wood and can do some major damage while doing so: some nests can be upwards of four feet long with many galleries that branch out like fingers.
Carpenter Bees 101
Carpenter bees are really great to have around-as long as they're not getting too close to your house! They are solitary, unlike honeybees, but will live close to each other, and occasionally a small number will stay near a nest to protect it. Nests are created when the female vibrates her body, causing her mandibles to turn the wood into easily removable sawdust. Contrary to popular belief, this sawdust is never eaten, but is instead used to create safe nurseries for individual eggs, along with pollen and nectar within the nest. Any extra sawdust is pushed out of the nest, creating a neat pile that is a clear indicator of carpenter presence.
Here is a Quick Primer on How to Recognize Carpenter Bees
- Carpenter bees are a species of bee that although look much like a bumble bee but in fact are actually pretty different in many different ways from their cousins.
- They love to bore through wood which is where they make their nests, hence the strange name, and will craft nests into ant wood that takes their fancy.
- They have a particular fancy for wood that has not been treated or has not been painted and is basically natural just off the tree type timber.
- The nests they form are perfectly round holes about 16 millimeters in diameter and bored by carpenter bees themselves without the aid of any assistance.
- Inside the nests they for compartments or cells for their offspring to dwell in which are created by various methods which the they come up with themselves.
- They often use wood particles from boring the nests to make the partitions in the nests and these serve to create the cells for their offspring.
- They are very solitary in the way thy go about their daily life and they do not socialize much with other carpenter bees in their colony. However, they do work together well and will look to help each other out as much as possible in order to make life as easy for each other as possible. This type of team work makes them quite intelligent creatures.
- They will do such things as look after each other’s nest. As one watches over the nest so as no other insect comes near it so another one will be allowed to go out into the environment that thy live to go and hunt and forage for food to bring back foe the others to enjoy.
- Unlike bumble bees, wasps, hornets and other insect cousins, they will not attempt to sting you unless they are gravely threatened by you in some way that means they have to defend themselves from you in order to further protect themselves and their offspring from danger and potentially being exterminated.
- When boring holes into timber or wood, they will not cause structural damage if that timber is being used in your property for such uses as joists or floorboards that are found around a property. However, if you find many holes in a single area which I've been bored by the carpenter bees then this may cause structural damage.
Why They're Pests
As we've already mentioned, carpenter bees nest in wood. Know what else has wood? Your home. The entire reason why they're pests is that carpenter bees don't care if they bore into a decaying tree or if they bore into your home's wooden door frame or deck. Wood is wood to a bee. And they don't just build their one nest and leave; mothers and daughters will often make nests beside each other, generation after generation, until your wood is destroyed and you have some expensive repairs to tend to.
Are They Dangerous?
Really, the only dangers that carpenter bees present are to your home. The males do not even have stingers, so they are incapable of harming people. Females do have stingers, but they are incredibly reticent about using them. Females will only sting if they are being crushed, handled, or if they feel directly threatened. People with bee allergies should avoid being stung by carpenter bees, but their lack of aggression really does make that easy.
Extermination and Control
Regardless of some of their positive attributes, their destructive nature more than warrants their removal. There are a few DIY options available on the market, but these only kill active bees, and miss the next generation completely. Instead of wasting money on ineffective DIY treatments, it's best to call a professional exterminator to take care of your infestation and treat the affected areas on or around your home to deter other carpenter bees from moving in. Your professional pest control team can also aid in the identification of the damage caused to your home and give you suggestions on how to repair it and prevent future damage.
Call Alliance Pest Services to solve all your Carpenter Bee and Stinging Insect pest problems.