If you see large, hairy black and yellow bees swarming around outside your home, you may be tempted to think they are bumble bees; but if those bees are about 1 inch long, have a black shiny tail section, and are making holes in your decks and outbuildings, it is more likely you have carpenter bees.
Where do these bees live and what do they eat?
Carpenter bees are known to inhabit every continent except Antarctica, and there are approximately 500 species. They tend to live alone, but sometimes mother and daughter pairs may share a nest. Often several bees will build nests close together. This is unusual since most bees build hives where large numbers of bees reside. The carpenter bee is aptly named since it truly is a "carpenter." With its sharp jaws, a carpenter bee will tunnel into the wood of a tree, deck, beam, porch rail, or anything else made of wood. However, they do not actually eat the wood, as a termite would. They eat pollen and nectar and are only burrowing into wood to create a nest. If you have round half-inch holes in your wooden structures, this is a good indication that you have carpenter bees.
What is a carpenter bee’s life cycle?
Like other bees, these bees hibernate during the cold winter months and emerge during the spring. After mating, the male dies and the female expands her nest to make room for her babies. She creates new "brood cells," fills them with regurgitated pollen and nectar, then lays eggs in each new compartment. It only takes a few days for these eggs to hatch, but they will not reach adulthood for about six weeks.
Are these bees dangerous?
The answer to this question is yes, and no. These bees are not typically dangerous to humans. The males have no stingers, and the females will only sting if they are brought into direct contact with the skin or they feel threatened. If a female does sting, the effects are similar to any bee sting which can be extremely painful; and if the person stung is allergic, the effects can include burning, itching, body swelling and rash, weakness, nausea, difficulty breathing, shock or unconsciousness.
In addition, carpenter bees are directly dangerous to unprotected wooden structures. Since they tunnel into wood, they can weaken beams or walls. There is also the danger that woodpeckers may forage into the tunnels creating more damage. In addition, wood-decaying types of fungi or invasion of other insects can cause more structural damage.
What can you do to keep these bees away from your home?
If you are concerned about carpenter bees damaging your property, the best course of action is to employ the help of a professional pest control company. Here at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions, we have decades of experience in all aspects of the problems associated with pests - inside and outside of homes.
Don't take chances with carpenter bees, or any other pest, call for your FREE pest inspection today.