With their large bodies and loud buzz, carpenter bees can be very intimidating, but is their presence around your home truly cause for alarm? Well, yes, but not for the reasons you may think. To help you learn more about these insects, our Raleigh pest control company put together this guide so you know how to identify them, whether you want them around, and how to get rid of them if you don’t!
Identifying Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees are very large insects, often between 1/2 an inch to an inch long with a thick, oval-shaped body and yellow and black markings. If you think this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
It’s easy to mistake a carpenter bee for a bumble bee. After all, both are large and fat with yellow and black fuzzy bodies. The big difference between the two is that carpenter bees have smooth, shiny abdomens, whereas bumble bees are hairy nearly all over. However, if you don’t want to get close enough to the bee to examine its abdomen and look for hair, we understand.
Carpenter Bee Habitats
Carpenter bees are unlike other bees in several ways, especially in their habitats. You won’t see nests or colonies like honey or bumble bees. Instead, they create individual habitats, choosing to bore round, smooth holes, called galleries, in wood for their individual tunnels, making things like piles of firewood and wooden swing sets, and structures like fences and decks, vulnerable to infestation.
While new galleries are usually around four to six inches deep, carpenter bees often reuse tunnels and galleries. Years of continued boring deeper into the wood means that some galleries can measure several feet in length.
Do Carpenter Bees Sting?
Because of their large size, most people are understandably concerned about carpenter bee stings, especially because they can seem aggressive if you come too close. The good news is that the more aggressive bees are males, and they can’t sting. They are just trying to scare you away from where they’re either pollinating or boring wood.
On the other hand, female carpenter bees are capable of stinging, but they rarely do so. They will only sting when they feel they or their eggs are threatened. This means if you see a carpenter bee tunnel, don’t stick your finger in it.
Carpenter Bees Can Cause Structural Damage to Your Home
The real danger comes from the damage they can cause to your home and wooden structures. They create round, smooth holes that measure around a half-inch in diameter and can extend deep within a wooden structure. Having multiple carpenter bees taking up residence and nesting can lead to severe structural damage.
Carpenter Bees Are Important Pollinators
Like honeybees and bumble bees, carpenter bees are important pollinators, so they can actually be very beneficial to your garden. If you see one or two buzzing around your flowers or tomato plants, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. It’s when you see carpenter bees hovering around your wooden structures or any wooden eaves of your home or evidence of their habitats that you will have cause for concerns.
How to Prevent a Carpenter Bee Infestation in Raleigh
Prevention is ideal for avoiding damage without harming valuable pollinators. Try these tips to get these bees to leave your home alone:
- Carpenter bees seek out natural, untreated wood, so varnishing, painting, and staining make your home less appealing.
- Seal and caulk any cracks or crevices that will allow them to enter and start tunneling.
- Fill any existing holes with caulk to prevent bees from returning.
- Contact a Raleigh bee and wasp exterminator to spray preventatives around your home and discourage tunneling.
Contact Our Raleigh Pest Control Company
At Stomp Pest Control, we offer affordable, convenient pest control services that are effective against bees, wasps, and multiple other types of pests you may see around your Raleigh home! To learn more, contact us today at (919) 231-3292 or fill out our contact form below to schedule a consultation!