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Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee
Carpenter Bee beginning to "drill" into a wood beam

Carpenter bees are large hairy black and yellow bees that are often mistaken or confused with bumble bees. Carpenter bees are not aggressive towards people and are very rare to sting (generally only when people grab or step on them do they sting).

Carpenter bees are most often seen in the spring time "patrolling" the area around their nest. Carpenter bees are very territorial and their worst fear is that some carnivorous insect (like wasp, yellow jackets, or hornets) are going to enter their nest and steal away their young. That's why people see them hovering around a given area and darting after any flying/moving object. While they do dart after people (actually they go after any movement they see) humans are not considered a threat. As soon as the carpenter bee realizes that it is a human they quickly move away.

Carpenter bees get their name from the type of nest that they build. Their nest are constructed inside dead wood. Carpenter bees will bore holes into dead dry wood that looks like it was drilled with a precision drill bit. The holes are approximately 3/8 of an inch in diameter and can go 3 to 6 inches into the wood. It's the carpenter bee's nesting habit that people do not like. Our homes, porches, decks, and out buildings all make a perfect nesting place for carpenter bees.

There are several things that you the home owner can do to prevent these pest from turning your porch or deck into a carpenter bee condo!

Before the carpenter bee drills a hole
We recommend that you take a garden sprayer and fill it with a lawn and garden insecticide (any exterior insecticide that is safe to use around people and animals will work). In the early spring (before the bugs start flying) and the wood you want to treat is dry. Spray the wood with the garden sprayer/insecticide. The insecticide will soak into the wood making it undesirable for the carpenter bees.

Carpenter Bee
The beginnings of a carpenter bee's nest

 

Carpenter Bee
The same "nest" from the picture above about 4 hours later.

After a carpenter bee drills a hole
DO NOT TRY AND SEAL A CARPENTER BEE INTO THEIR HOLE WITH CALK OR WOOD FILLER! They will only "drill" around the material. Instead if the carpenter bee has already drilled into the wood take a cotton ball and soak it with insecticide and stuff it into the hole. This will kill the carpenter bee and then after a few days you can go back and fill the hole in with calk or wood filler.

Carpenter Bee Nest
The finished nesting cavity complete and ready to be filled with eggs.

 

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