Carpenter bees get their name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for the remaining young. These are worldwide in distribution with 7 species occurring in the USA. Each bee is about 1” long and closely resembles a bumble bee except that the abdomen is black and shiny instead of at least partially covered with yellow hairs. The male has a yellow face, whereas the female’s is black. One other characteristic is that these bees fly like a hummingbird.
Male carpenter bees tend to be territorial and often become aggressive when humans approach, sometimes hovering a short distance in front of the face or buzzing one’s head, so call Prevention Pest Control for a free inspection and let us take away the stress of having this unwanted pest.
Carpenter bees are not social insects and do not live in nests or colonies. The adults winter, typically in abandoned nest tunnels. In the spring, the survivors emerge and feed on nectar. Then mating begins and extends into nest-construction time. The mated female may either reuse an old gallery, construct a new one by lengthening an old gallery, bore an entirely new one, or extend a gallery from a common entrance hole. The female typically bores a circular hole straight into the wood across the wood grain for a distance equal to her body length. Then the gallery takes a right-angle turn, usually with the grain of the wood. New galleries range from 4”-6” long but galleries used by several bees may extend up to 10 feet.
The female bee goes to the end of the gallery and with a mass of pollen and regurgitated nectar upon which she lays a single egg. This portion of the gallery is then sealed off with a chewed wood-pulp plug, making a chamber or cell. This process is repeated until a linear series of 5-6 cells is completed, about 1 cell per day. The development time is a bout 36 days.
Male carpenter bees tend to be territorial and often become aggressive when humans approach, sometimes hovering a short distance in front of the face or buzzing one’s head. Since males have no stinger, these actions are merely show. However, the female does have a potent sting which is rarely used.
Treatment for this pest consists of an outside power-spray treatment to the home to try to deter the bees from attacking it. Dusting the entry holes is best for control, but in areas that are impossible to reach, the power-spray treatment is best. A home owner can help by plugging the holes with some kind of wood filler each year to help with control for the following season.
Contact us at Prevention Pest Control to hear more about our carpenter ant program.