Getting to Know Carpenter Bees
Springtime in Florida can bring with it more to homeowners than just blue skies and flower blossoms. It can also mean carpenter bees. Carpenter bees are problematic nationwide but are of particular interest to Floridians living in homes with wood trim, eaves, or fences. These features are the perfect habitat for carpenter bees, which bring with them another, more destructive creature.
Read on for more information on how to prevent their infiltration and what you can do if carpenter bees have already joined you on your property.
What does a carpenter bee look like?
A carpenter bee is a large black and yellow bee closely resembling a bumble bee. The most immediately noticeable difference is that carpenter bees have shiny black abdomens, while bumblebees have a furry yellow belly. They can also be distinguished from bumblebees by their behavior: carpenter bees will aggressively protect their nests, and often hover near eaves and porches to dart at anyone nearby.
Do carpenter bees sting?
The quick answer is yes; however, a little research reveals that males, which are the most aggressive, have no stinger. The females do have a stinger but are much more docile than their male counterparts. Usually, they will only sting when physically threatened or captured.
Will carpenter bees destroy my house?
Unlike termites, carpenter bees will not destroy your home. However, they can produce enough damage that repairs can be very costly.
Carpenter bees cause damage by chewing into the wood of your home to build a nest. The entrance to the nest is a nearly perfect 3/8” hole. The female will lay a dozen or more eggs in the nest, and any offspring that survive will return to their birthplace the following year to construct their own nests. Thus, the holes in the wood of your house can multiply quickly!
These holes can be unsightly, but they pale in comparison to the damage inflicted by the Pileated Woodpeckers that arrive to feed on the bee larvae. These large birds will easily destroy eaves and fences to find their next meal. Homeowners often focus their ire on the birds for the damage they cause when, in fact, they wouldn’t be there if not for the bees. It is also important to note that these birds are protected by the State of Florida and penalties for harming them can be severe.
How do I get rid of carpenter bees?
As in most pest control situations, the best approach is prevention. Maintaining the exterior paint on your home is the best and easiest method, as carpenter bees prefer old, weathered wood and will avoid painted wood whenever possible. Aluminum soffit and fascia wrap will also provide adequate protection for your home.
If you already have a carpenter bee problem, sprays and powders to control them are available online or at your local hardware store. All can be effective when used correctly, but there are two potential issues to consider:
1. To be effective, most insecticides must be applied directly to the nests, which are also known as “galleries.” This kind of detailed application usually involves climbing ladders and navigating to dangerous, hard-to-reach areas of your home. This is especially risky for older folks.
2. A second problem with these products? Bees can detect most of them! Rather than landing on the treated surface, the pests will merely relocate to an untreated area and start over with a new nest. This means another hole. The difficulty in controlling carpenter bees highlights the need to prevent them in the first place.
If you have a carpenter bee problem and need some help, we would be happy to lend a hand. Contact Universal Pest Control online at www.BugandTermiteControl.com or by calling 386-673-1557. We’re delighted to help you!
Todd Stebleton is the owner and operator of Universal Pest Control, a family-owned business for over 25 years in Ormond Beach, Florida. He and his wife Natalie are proud to have built a company focused on conducting business with honesty and integrity, keeping customers first, protecting the environment, and providing trustworthy, personal service.
Universal: Honest, Environmentally Friendly Pest Control