Carpenter bees are large bees that look like big bumblebees, however, carpenter bees and bumblebees have different abdomens. Carpenter bees can be identified by the shiny black abdomen with yellow hairs just on the first abdominal segment of their body and bumble bees have yellow hairs on other abdominal segments as well. Carpenter bees live alone and do not form colonies like many other bees. The male carpenter bee cannot sting, but, the female can if it is handled. Since carpenter bees are also pollinators they are beneficial to the environment. However, they can cause damage to wood around your home.
Carpenter bees bore tunnels for the females to lay their eggs inside. These tunnels can be 4-6 inches long and anywhere from a ¼ of an inch to ¾ of an inch in diameter. Cedar wood that is untreated is one of their favorites. You may notice that carpenter bees will fly close to your face when you are near their nest. This is usually when people realize they have a problem.
Carpenter bees live in their nests during the winter months and emerge in April to mate. Females may return to their same living space or may seek a new location for their eggs. A female bee will lay an egg then pack in some pollen and nectar to feed the larvae, seal the cell and then start another cell within the tunnel to lay another egg. This will continue until she is done laying eggs at which point the female will die. Adult carpenter bees only live one year.
To prevent carpenter bees moving into your home or yard, keep all exposed wood either painted or polyurethaned. A regular colored wood stain will not prevent damage from carpenter bees. Be sure to seal up any holes to deter bees from setting up a new nest in an existing location.
If you notice any carpenter bees on your property, contact A1 Exterminators, so we can help rectify the problem.