Most bees, including the carpenter bee, play an important role in the ecosystem because they help pollinate plants. However, unlike other bees, the carpenter bee can do serious damage beyond painful stings. The insect got its name because they make their nests by boring into wood.
While carpenter bees don’t pose as big a concern as wood eating termites, they can still cause damage, attract woodpeckers and make it easier for other insects to get into your home.
How Carpenter Bees Bore Into Wood
Termites eat wood, but carpenter bees simply drill through it. Technically, not all carpenter bees do this. The males will hang around nests, but it’s the females that burrow holes into wood to create the nest.
The holes they make may not be very large on the surface, but they can extend deep into the wood, which is why they prefer wood that’s at least two inches thick. Carpenter bees create tunnels that are typically 4-6” in length, but repeat tunneling can lead to full blown colonization. The female carpenter ant will create tiny cells within the tunnels that are used to store pollen and eggs. These cells provide a safe haven for the bee larvae to hatch and grow. Once they have fully matured, the bees will emerge from the tunnel and possibly begin making tunnels of their own or expand their current home.
Another issue is that the nests are used as a shelter for overwintering adults. Once the carpenter bees settle in they can become a year-round problem.
Signs That Carpenter Bees Are Boring Into Your Home
Carpenter bees are commonly found in most areas of the U.S., including Alabama. Carpenter bees are easy to spotbecause they look like a larger version of a bumblebee. They also stay close to their nest, so there is a high likelihood you’ll run into them if they’re on your property.
Signs that you have carpenter bees burrowing into your home include:
- Bee activity around common nesting spots, which include:
- Outdoor furniture
- Roofline shingles
- Window trim
- If you see bees hovering near your home where no plants are present this is a sign that they are looking for a place to nest or defending their territory and should be closely monitored.
- Are you just seeing solitary bees that are flying around on their own? Bumblebees are social and hang out in groups while carpenter bees are more solitary creatures.
- Holes in wood surfaces. Carpenter bees drill perfectly round holes that are about 1/2” in diameter.
- Piles of coarse sawdust. These will be found underneath the holes.
- Yellowish stains on structure surfaces. Carpenter bees excrete a yellow or brown residue, which is left on the surfaces near nests.
- Sounds of burrowing within the wood.
Painting and staining wood surfaces can help prevent carpenter bees from boring into wood. However, if they have already begun the process you’ll need to take action to remove them ASAP. The highly trained technicians at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. are experienced in getting rid of carpenter bee infestations. Give us a call if you’ve seen any of the signs that carpenter bees are making a home in your home.