Carpenter bees lack hair on their shiny abdomen as compared to bumble bees, which has a hairy abdomen with black and yellow stripes. Carpenter bees create nests by chewing into wood to create galleries. They use the gallery to lay their eggs, store food supplies, and use it as a shelter during winter. Old, dry, and untreated woods are often selected by the bees to build galleries, as they are easier to dig into. The galleries can extend upto 4-6 inches, the eggs are relatively large as compared to the size of the female.
Carpenter bees eat nectar and play an important role in the pollination process, but they do not live in colonies like their bumble bee cousins. After the mating process, they create chambers inside the nest galleries which are then filled with “bee bread”, a food substance made of pollen and nectar for the larvae. Then they will lay eggs on top of the food and seal off the chamber with wood pulp. While the bee bread serves as the food source for the developing larvae, It takes around 36 days for the larvae to hatch and mature bees to come out.
Carpenter bees do not sting and the males do not possess stingers. Females will only sting if they are directly threatened or bothered. The males can be intimidating, and hover in front of people who come near to their nesting sites. Over the course of years, they can cause noticeable cosmetic and structural damage to your wooden structures. The infested piece of wood can also facilitate moisture intrusion, rot, and decay.
Getting Rid of Carpenter Bees
The best way to prevent carpenter bees is by inspecting the whole premises to accurately identify the galleries and apply effective control methods. The holes can be filled with dust insecticides and leave it open to allow the bees to get inside and spread the insecticide throughout the nest tunnel. After the bees die, remove any leftover and seal the holes with wood putty. Apply liquid insecticide to the wooden surface to prevent future infestation. In order to protect exposed wood surfaces from being attacked, you can also apply oil-based polyurethane. The process requires careful and skillful handling of chemicals. So, it is best to contact a professional exterminator to take care of your carpenter bee problem and prevent them from happening again.