Carpenter Bee Extermination

WHAT EXACTLY IS A CARPENTER BEE ANYWAY?

Carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumble bees but they are actually quite different. Besides being more solitary than bumble bees, the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black, while bumble bees have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings. Also, bumble bees don’t nest in the wood, but rather on the ground. You can distinguish the males and females by their coloring. The males often have areas of pale coloration on their heads while the females have dark colored heads. Female carpenter bees do have stingers but are rarely aggressive unless directly provoked or handled. The males are aggressive and will protect their nest so you will see them flying around the holes, however this is just an act as they don’t have stingers and pose no real threat.

The lifecycle of carpenter bees happens in four unique stages:

  • Egg: A bee’s life starts in an egg; the mother needs to make a hole in wood to hide her eggs. She’ll make a 1/2” hole using her mandibles, and she’ll then make a tunnel in the wood to place the eggs up to six inches in the wood.
  • Larva: The larva stage occurs when the bee emerges from the egg. The carpenter bee larvae are provided with food by its mother, who leaves food inside of the tunnels.
  • Pupa: The pupa part of the cycle occurs when the bee goes into a metamorphosis stage before transitioning into an adult. The bee will still be in the nest at this time, so it doesn’t need to build a cocoon; the transition remains in the brood cell.
  • Adult: The pupa stage leads to the adult stage, which completes a seven-week (on average) cycle that starts with the egg and ends with the adult carpenter bee. Adults have mandibles that allows them to borrow out of the brood cell or nest to see the outside world for the first time.

Nesting galleries start with ½ inch holes being chewed into the wood and the caverns can extend on average 4 to 6 inches, however if a gallery is being used by many bees those caverns can extend up 10 feet causing extensive damage to homes and other wooden structures. A female can excavate one inch in 6 days. A carpenter bee infestation is often detected by observing the large amount of sawdust and pollen on the ground below the area being chewed and excavated. Carpenter bees rarely attack wood that is painted or varnished, they prefer bare, exposed wood so sealing or painting wooden structures is a good way to deter these pests.
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Carpenter Bee Extermination