What Every Streator Homeowner Ought To Know About Carpenter Bees

a carpenter bee crawling on a hole in wood

Did you know that there are other creatures, besides termites and carpenter ants, that can chew through wood and cause damage to your home? While these more well-known pests can be a big threat to the safety of your property, there is another variety of insect that likes to nest inside of the wood around your house: carpenter bees.

Carpenter Bee Identification

Carpenter bees look a lot like bumblebees, with fatter, rounder abdomens than honey bees or stinging wasps and hornets. However, there are some key characteristics that you can spot to differentiate carpenter bees from other varieties:

  • Hairless: Bumblebees are furry, with black and yellow hairs all over their bodies. Carpenter bees, however, are smoother, with shiny black abdomens. While they may have some dark-colored hairs on their thorax, they are nowhere near as hairy as bumblebees.

  • Color & Patterns: While carpenter bees often have black and yellow on their bodies, they don’t have stripes. And the black, shiny portions of their abdomens often have a different sheen that can appear green or blue-ish in certain lighting. They also have darker, oily-colored wings.

  • Nesting: The biggest difference is in nesting behaviors. Carpenter bees get their name from the fact that they bore tunnels into wood in order to lay their eggs. No other kind of bee does this.

Problems Of A Carpenter Bee Infestation

Carpenter bees are so busy tunneling and gathering food for their eggs that they are less threatening than other varieties of bees. They don’t sting as readily and they are solitary insects that don’t function within a colony or swarm. They also aren’t typically as dangerous as termites or carpenter ants, which can do irreparable damage to the foundations and support structures of buildings. Since carpenter bees only tunnel for the purposes of nesting, they don’t require nearly the same kind of elaborate tunnel systems as other wood-boring bugs.

Regardless, no one wants these insects around. Their holes are cosmetic blemishes in wood and can ruin heirloom furniture or keepsakes. Rotting egg sacs and feces left behind in the walls can also result in odors that permeate the house. While they are less likely to sting than their other bee cousins, carpenter bee females will still sting if they feel threatened or their nests are invaded.

Carpenter Bee Prevention

Take the following steps to keep carpenter bees from getting in your home:

  • Treatment: If you see the round holes of bee drilling, it’s important to act quickly. Store-bought insecticides sprayed directly into the nesting holes may kill off or discourage more bees. (Keep in mind that the tunnels usually go upwards then turn a corner, so sprays won't usually reach the end of the tunnel.) Pre-treating wood, like outside decks, with strong varnishes or bug treatments, can also protect wood from getting damaged in the first place.

  • Plug holes: It’s important to note that you shouldn’t do this step unless you’re sure all the bees inside of the nest are dead. If you plug a hole prematurely, they’ll simply tunnel out the other side.

  • Install traps: Just like other bees, carpenter bees can be lured into outdoor traps where they can’t escape. While you can purchase traps, they can also be made from common household items like plastic bottles and cardboard boxes.

Professional Bee Prevention From Quik Kill

While there are steps you can take to get rid of and prevent carpenter bees, household methods often aren’t enough. Timing, effectiveness, and safety are all factors, and improper handling of pest populations, especially when it comes to stinging insects, can lead to injury. Store-bought chemicals can contain harmful compounds, too. The best course of action is to enlist the help of your local experts.

Call Quik Kill Pest Eliminators at the first sign of a carpenter bee infestation.

Share To: