Carpenter bees are large bees that fly around California each spring. They bore nearly perfect circles through wood, leaving wooden siding, sheds, garages, playsets, and wooden patio furniture scattered with ugly holes. Even if you don’t spot carpenter bee nests, you may still see them flying around. They aren’t especially dangerous and don’t sting humans unless provoked. However, they are so large and clumsy that they’ll bump right into you if you are unknowingly in their flight path. You can identify carpenter bees by their large size and shiny abdomen. In the fall, adult carpenter bees that have recently hatched migrate towards places that provide shelter during the winter. Otherwise, they cannot survive the cold.
How can I tell if I have carpenter bees?
Carpenter bees become active in the spring in our area. After hatching, they search for a mate. These bees look like large bumble bees, but unlike bumble bees they have a shiny black abdomen. Carpenter bees also have distinctive flight patterns and are often seen diving and darting about and “chasing” each other in flight. They are solitary bees that make nests by chewing perfectly round tunnels into the wood where they lay 6-8 eggs. Many times there will be a brownish stain on the wood directly beneath their nests. These nests are commonly found along the trim of the roof-line, but they can be found in other places around the house as well. Even though each nest is individual many females will often make their nests in the same general area, and will return every year.
Are carpenter bees dangerous?
Carpenter bees are not parasitic and do not feed on human hosts like ticks and mosquitoes do. The damage that they inflict on houses isn’t enough for them to be a concern to the structural damage of a home. Their nests are mostly an issue of aesthetics. Our area in particular is home to the Nuttall’s woodpecker. Among other small insects, these woodpeckers are especially attracted to carpenter bee larvae that live within active nests. It’s not uncommon for Nuttall’s woodpeckers to cause damage to your home, not to mention the excessive noise they make while trying to eat carpenter bee larvae.
How can I get rid of carpenter bees?
To prevent carpenter bees from nesting on your home, try painting bare surfaces. Carpenter bees are often attracted to unpainted surfaces. Although they prefer bare wood, don’t be surprised if you find them nesting on your wood-stained deck as the stain isn’t as much as a deterrent as paint. The wood stains are less reliable than paint but could provide some degree of repellency as opposed to having bare wood.
Once carpenter bees have nested on your home, it’s too late to get rid of them. Only professional pest control will be effective against carpenter bee nesting. Call us or fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a carpenter bee inspection or service at your home!