Carpenter bees do damage to millions of homes each year. However, even though carpenter bees are considered wood destroying the damage they do is never structural. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what to look for.
During the months of April and May we get numerous calls from concerned homeowners. Many are concerned about the large “bumble bees” they see hovering around the roof and the accompanying falling sawdust. After we get the full description they’re surprised to find out that those bumble bees are actually carpenter bees. This solitary bee looks like a bumble bee with a few exceptions. Carpenter bees have a shiny black abdomen while a bumble bee has a furry black and yellow abdomen. Female carpenter bees also have a black dot on their head and males a white dot.
Do carpenter bees do damage? Yes, but not in the manner you’d think.
Carpenter bees are considered a wood destroying insect, but they don’t eat wood. Instead they burrow through it and plant eggs in the smooth galleries they create. This is accomplished by the female “drilling” a perfectly round hole into the wood (approximately a perfect 1/2″diameter) and then continuing over about 7″. After this is complete she’ll begin laying eggs in roughly 7 separate cells. The young then develop through the egg, larval and pupa stage. In order for the larva to have something to eat she’ll deposit a slurry of pollen and nectar for the developing insect to feed on. This slurry will also seal the hole after the last cell. The picture to the left shows where the pollen and nectar carpenter bee stains are located on all houses. Many people mistake these stains for bird droppings.
A problem with carpenter bees can be controlled if it’s done at the proper time of year. Due to the height that some carpenter bee evidence is located control is best left to a professional.
If you have carpenter bees and need help call Envirocare Pest Control at 1-888-879-6481