When you think of a bee, what do you picture? A hive of buzzing honeybees? Or a big yellow bumblebee buzzing around your flowerbed? While you might see these types of bees fairly commonly, occasionally, you might happen upon a bee that doesn’t fit your expectations-in fact, it might not have been black and yellow at all.
This bee might seem similar to a bumblebee, but it looks and acts quite differently. Perhaps this blackish, bluish bee dives at you but doesn’t actually sting you. While this bee might not act or look like a standard bee, it is still a bee. If you have seen a bee like this, you have met a carpenter bee.
While they don’t look like most bees, carpenter bees are still beneficial and mostly harmless to humans. However, as their name implies, they are not mostly harmless to wood. In fact, if you see many carpenter bees around your property, you could be at risk for property damage. Use our guide to identify carpenter bees and determine whether they currently threaten your property.
How Can You Identify a Carpenter Bee?
Carpenter bees lack the general yellow coloring of their bumblebee and honeybee cousins. While they have yellow hairs on the head, body, and legs, those hairs aren’t nearly as numerous as corresponding hairs on a bumblebee. In addition, carpenter bees have a glossy black or metallic blue color.
How Do Carpenter Bees Act?
Like most normal bees, carpenter bees act as pollinators. In fact, they do a lot of good for garden plants, farms, and fruit trees. However, carpenter bees make their nests in wood, especially dried, unfinished wood. The bees don’t actually eat any of the wood, they simply burrow into wood to lay their eggs.
In addition, carpenter bees don’t make large hives. In fact, unlike other bees, carpenter bees live alone. These solitary animals make very small nests which they and their larvae use exclusively. As a result, individual carpenter bees don’t cause much damage. However, several carpenter bees and their larvae can cause more significant issues.
Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?
If you have met a carpenter bee, you might have noticed that they seem aggressive. Often males will quickly dart and dive against those they consider threats. However, male carpenter bees don’t sting. Females sting, but they rarely do so unless touched or provoked.
Do I Have a Carpenter Bee Infestation?
If you have seen carpenter bees around your property, you should check for any unprotected wood around the house. The bees usually target soft woods found in siding, porches, fence posts, fascia boards, and outdoor furniture. They prefer woods like cedar, cypress, pine, and redwood.
If you have a carpenter bee infestation, you’ll find bore holes on the underside of any boards. Tunnels are usually half-an-inch wide and bore into the wood for another inch. They then create a right angle and follow the grain of the wood for another six inches. Don’t be surprised to find multiple tunnels next to each other. While the bees aren’t the most social creatures, they do share tunnels from time to time.
What Kinds of Damage Do Carpenter Bees Cause?
- Structural Weakening – Carpenter bees can weaken boards and other structural supports for decks and even homes.
- Sawdust – Carpenter bees leave behind significant amounts of sawdust, a major annoyance. Water Damage – Tunnels allow water to seepinto boards, which rots the structure.
- Woodpeckers – Woodpeckers hunt carpenter bees and will damage decks and siding to find carpenter bee larvae.
- Excrement and Pollen – Carpenter bees leave behind pollen mixed with excrement, which stains wood.
How Do You Prevent Carpenter Bee Infestations?
You can protect your home from further carpenter bee incursions with proper preparation. If you deny them a place to stay, they will bypass your property. Here are some preventative tips you can use to keep carpenter bees away:
- Treat Wood – Wood that has paint, varnish, or some sort of sealant will deter carpenter bees. Make sure any paint or treatment is on the bottom side of the wood. This often-neglected side of the wood is a carpenter bee’s favorite entrance.
- Seal Cracks – Close any holes or cracks in any wood. Check for nail holes and split sides on every wood surface on the exterior of your home.
- Use Metal, Plastic, and Vinyl – If you have repeated issues with carpenter bees, use metal and other alternative materials for decks, siding, and outside furniture.
What Do I Do If I Have Carpenter Bees?
If you have carpenter bees, consider contacting A.S.A.P Bee Removal to take care of them for you. Carpenter bees are stubborn creatures, but an expert can help protect your home from future problems. If you have any questions or concerns about carpenter bees or any other kind of bee, contact A.S.A.P Bee Removal.