You’re walking through the garden of your Essex County home and hear a familiar buzzing sound. Upon closer inspection, you finally see it: a big, fuzzy bumble bee. But wait! Is that really a bumble bee or is it another type of bee that closely resembles the bumble bee and is often mistaken for it?

Carpenter bees have a nearly identical appearance to bumble bees, but if you had to choose which one of the two to visit your property, you’d definitely want to choose the bumble bee! In fact, having carpenter bees on your property can have serious negative ramifications! Below is a guide on carpenter bees, the dangers they present, and how to get rid of them.

Carpenter Bee Identification

Carpenter bees are about the same large size as bumble bees, growing as large as 1 ½ inches. They have the same black and yellow coloring and the same fuzzy bodies. The only noticeable difference between these two bees is that unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees have shiny black abdomens.

Another difference to help differentiate between these two bees is that bumble bees nest in colonies which are typically located underground, while carpenter bees are solitary stinging insects that create their own nests by tunneling into areas of wood. Though these bees are considered wood-destroying pests, they do not feed on the wood they tunnel through like termites. Instead, they feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers, much like many other species of stinging insects.

Why Carpenter Bees Can Be a Problem

While carpenter bees are not overly aggressive, the males are very territorial and will appear aggressive in order to drive you away. However, the males are not equipped with stingers, so they can’t harm you physically. Females carpenter bees have the ability to sting, but are very docile and will only do so when extremely provoked. These stings are especially dangerous for individuals who are allergic to bee stings.

However, the biggest problem with carpenter bees is not their stingers, but the damage they can cause to your home! In order to create their nests, carpenter bees drill holes up to ½ inch wide in areas of exposed wood. The adult bees will spend the winter in these holes, lay their eggs, and then reappear in the spring. Carpenter bee eggs hatch in the late summer, and by the time the fall arrives, these newly developed adults will have already drilled their tunnels and hidden away for the winter in order to start the whole cycle all over again.

As you may suspect, when given enough time, carpenter bees can cause some serious damage to your home! While the holes can often found on the underside of porch railings or decks, carpenter bees also drill holes in wood shingles, overhangs, and on other exposed wooden sections of your home.

Not only do these holes cause damage to the outside of your home, they can also cause structural damage depending on their number and location of the holes. There is also the danger that hungry woodpeckers will arrive to feed on the larvae and begin pecking at the holes to gain access to them which will make the small holes much larger and result in even more damage to your home.

How to Prevent Carpenter Bees

Any home in the Essex Country area with wooden elements is at risk of a carpenter bee infestation. Some common signs that you already have a carpenter bee problem include finding small, round holes in the wood of your home and finding small piles of sawdust in or around your home from where the bees have drilled their holes.

If you haven’t seen either of those signs, you can continue to prevent your home from attracting carpenter bees in the following ways.

  • Carpenter bees prefer untreated wood, so staining, painting, or treating all currently untreated sections of your home will help to deter them.
  • If you find old holes in the wood of your home, make sure no bees are present and then fill the hole with wood filler and paint over the repair.
  • Contacting a pest control professional to efficiently and effectively protect your home and property from carpenter bee damages.

Attempting DIY home remedies for bee infestations is often ineffective and it is also dangerous. If you are dealing with carpenter bees on your Essex County property, the best course of action is to call the experts in to take care of the problem before continuing your preventative measures. At ChemTec Pest Control, our professionals are trained to quickly locate and identify all areas of carpenter bee activity in your home or on your property and treat for them in order to eliminate the infestation both safely and effectively. If you fear that you may have a carpenter bee problem, leave it to the professionals! Give us a call at ChemTec Pest Control in Essex County to learn more about our residential pest control solutions and to schedule a free inspection!