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Carpenter Bees Guide

carpenter bee on a log

Carpenter bees are an important component of the environment. Similar to honey bees they feed on nectar and pollen, not wood which is a common misconception. Carpenter bees are instrumental in pollinating flowers and agricultural crops. Here are a few facts about carpenter bees you may not be aware of.

What Are Carpenter Bees?

Commonly seen in Ohio in the late spring and early summer, carpenter bees seek wooden shelter for nest building so they can lay their eggs. More commonly found on the exterior of your home, carpenter bees can cause damage to your belongings and threaten your outdoor fun.

Carpenter bees, as their name suggests, build their nests in wood structures such as your home, trees, fencing, and basically any wood that is bare, untreated, or weathered. The damage initially is minor, but if the infestation is left unattended it can turn into an expensive structural problem.

Do Carpenter Bees Sting?

Carpenter bees are territorial. Typically, male carpenter bees are the ones who will protect the nest. Aggressive in nature, male carpenter bees will hover around people who are they feel are too close to their nest. Luckily, male carpenter bees cannot sting. Female Carpenter bees do have a stinger, but will only use it if provoked.

How Do I Know If I Have Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter bees are most commonly found in the late spring and early summer. Large and black in their bodice, carpenter bees resemble bumblebees, but the shiny black abdomen is what gives them away.

If you see a Carpenter bee flying around your home, it’s very likely they’re looking for a spot to build their nest, in order to lay eggs. If you notice small “tunnels” in the wood on or surrounding your home, it is likely this is the nest of a carpenter bee. These tunnels can typically be found in window trim, siding, decks, and outdoor furniture.

How Can I Avoid Carpenter Bees?

  • Identify the pest. Males make a loud buzzing sound and you are typically not going to be stung by these bees since the males have no stingers and females are not known to be aggressive and sting unless they are disturbed. They resemble bumble bees but do not nest in the ground.
  • Prevention. Reduce the likely hood of infestation by keeping decks, fascia, and other wood surfaces covered with vinyl, polyurethane, stain, or paint.
  • Identify the signs of damage. Some signs that you may see are:
    • Bees entering holes in the structure.
    • Staining (brown or yellow) on the structure below the holes, evidence of pollen and feces.
    • Coarse sawdust below the holes.
    • Woodpeckers causing further damage feeding on the larvae.

How Do I Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter bees are attracted to wood that is bare, weathered, and unpainted. The best way to keep them away is to make sure your exposed wood is painted, especially the areas that have previously been attacked. Painting is your best bet, but if you’re not crazy about the idea of painting everything you own, wood stains and preservatives are a second-best option for protection.

In extreme cases, liquid sprays such as bee or wasp control can be administered to your wooden surfaces. Spraying will help to protect against future carpenter bees reusing old nests. But “bee” careful, female carpenter bees will sting! The best time to perform this treatment is in the evening when they are less active.

If you are concerned about handling this problem on your own, it’s time to call on the professionals! Recurring pest control services give your home the ongoing protection you deserve to eliminate and prevent infestations. If you think that you have problems concerning carpenter bees contact our local exterminators at Epcon Lane and we can take care of your pest control problem today.