All About Wood-Boring Bees: Carpenter Bees in AL

Carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta),black Insect

We talk a lot about getting rid of termites because they are so destructive and can devastate a home. But there’s another wood-boring insect that can also wreak havoc inside your walls. We’re talking about carpenter bees.

August is Honeybee Awareness Month, but homeowners should really be on the lookout for carpenter bees that are making a house inside your home.

Carpenter Bee Anatomy

Carpenter bees get their name due to the way they bore into wood, just like a carpenter. They are uniquely built for just that purpose. Carpenter bees have extremely strong jaws that enable them to chew through wood. The bees do so to create tunnels in the wood where the colony will live and nest.

Unlike termites, carpenter bees don’t chew on wood as a food source. They strictly see it as a good place to live. It’s the perfect place for the colony to stay over the winter and ride out cold weather. Within a few weeks of emerging, they’ll begin looking for mates and working on their tunnels for the new spring season.

This first group of adult female bees will lay eggs, which are placed in sealed off sections of the excavated tunnels. They then die a short while later. Fast forward six weeks and a new round of adult bees will emerge in late summer. Instead of making new tunnels, the young carpenter bees will begin clearing out the tunnels where they were stored as eggs.

Coloration: Black and yellow – they have black heads and tail sections with yellow in the center part of the body. It’s the shiny black tail section that makes them easy to identify.

Distinct Markings: You can tell a male carpenter bee from his female counterpart by the white spot on his face.

Size: Carpenter bees are larger than most other types of bees.

Stinger: Only the female carpenter bees have a stinger.

Where Carpenter Bees Can Be Found

When the weather first starts to warm up in the spring, you may spot carpenter bees buzzing around the eaves or deck of your home. Basically, anywhere there’s exposed soft wood you could find carpenter bees. And don’t think treating or painting wood will thwart them. Carpenter bees may not prefer treated lumber, but they’re known to bore through it.

If carpenter bees are at your house you may also see them buzzing around flowering plants searching for nectar.

Signs Carpenter Bees Are Boring Into Your Home

You See Bees Around Your Exterior

However, you don’t have to spot the bees themselves. There are other signs that can suggest carpenter bees are working their way into your home.

Holes on the Underside of Boards

The holes will be perfectly round and about a half inch in diameter.

Coarse Sawdust

If you see rough looking sawdust on the ground, window seal, etc. start looking for holes.

Yellowish Brown Staining    

Carpenter bees have the habit of eliminating their waste before they enter tunnels. It common to see yellowish brown staining around the holes they make.

Burrowing Sounds

If there are very industrious carpenter bees in your walls or siding you may hear the buzzing.

Have you spotted the signs of carpenter bees? Give Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. a call to get rid of the pests before that do anymore damage.

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