Carpenter Bees

What do carpenter bees look like?

a carpenter bee crawling on damaged wood in a home in morris illinois

Adult carpenter bees are oval and have a very robust appearance. Depending on their exact species, they can grow to between 1/4 and 1 inch in length. Carpenter bees are black and yellow, and more often than not, they are lacking stripes. Their body is fuzzy except for their abdomen which is smooth and hairless, unlike the completely fuzzy bumble bee that they are often confused with.

Where are carpenter bees found?

Carpenter bees are not social insects and do not live together in large nests like other stinging insects. After emerging from their overwinter hiding spot, the adults feed and breed. The fertilized females then create nesting areas to lay their eggs. The female creates a hole the diameter of her body in the wood, and then creates tunnels where she makes a gallery to lay her eggs and to allow the larvae to develop after they hatch.

Carpenter bees create their nests in pieces of wood, preferably softwood that has not been painted or sealed or that is very old. Carpenter bee nests are commonly found in decks, porches, roof eaves, wooden playgrounds, wooden shingles, sheds, and wooden furniture around Iowa & Illinois homes. There is only one female per nest, but several females may pick the same piece of wood to nest in. This, coupled with the fact that they tend to use the same galleries for many years in a row, means that carpenter bees can do quite a bit of damage to a wooden structure that they are nesting in.

Female carpenter bees have a stinger and their venom is strong enough to cause an allergic reaction in people. The good news is that the female is very docile and rarely stings unless she is being directly attacked. Males do not have a stinger, but are super aggressive and will fly and buzz around a potential threat to the nest.

What do carpenter bees eat?

Many people think that because of their name that carpenter bees eat wood, but carpenter bees do not feed on the wood they are tunneling through. In fact, they will leave piles of shavings below the nest that they have “kicked” out as they are tunneling. Carpenter bees, like many other bee species, feed on the sweet nectar and pollen that they collect from plants and trees.

DIY carpenter bee prevention and control tips

The best defense against carpenter bees is to paint or stain structures, porches, and any other softwood on your property. We also recommend removing old and rotting trees on your property. To prevent carpenter ants from re-using a nesting site, you should sand and seal any holes found in your structure or outbuildings, and of course, re-stain the area.

Professional carpenter bee control

If you’re experiencing a carpenter bee problem at your home or commercial property, contact Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators for an effective solution. Our pest control technicians are experienced in treating carpenter bees using materials that are appropriately labeled. Call us today!

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