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CARPENTER BEES

carpenter beeHave you heard the story of a farmer walking by his barn and hearing a strange buzzing sound. Upon opening the doors, he saw hundreds of giant bees flying around. The once solid rafters had been turned into Swiss cheese.

This barn had fallen victim to Carpenter Bees. Much like their treacherous cousins, the Carpenter Ant, these bees do a tremendous amount of damage, making their homes in any wood structure. Their appearance and size is similar to the Bumble Bee which makes identification between the two absolutely necessary to determine what action to take. Carpenter Bees are between ½ - 1 inch in size and bear the classic black and yellow, “fuzzy” body. The only real way to tell the difference between them is to take a close look at their abdomen. The Carpenter Bee's is shiny, black and hairless while a Bumble Bee's is hairy and usually has yellow markings.

Carpenter Bees are considered “loners” since they don’t have large nests (also called colonies) nor a queen bee. A nest typically has only one bee at a time, but an infested area can often contain many single nests. The females start a nest, vibrating their bodies rapidly to bore a circular hole (the depth will equal the bee’s body length) into weathered or unpainted wood. After an entry hole is finished, she takes a sharp, right-angle turn and continues to bore into the wood for 4-6 inches (galleries may extend for up to 10 feet if the nest has been active for years).

Because Carpenter Bee nests are built in wood, they are well-insulated allowing the Bees to overwinter. In the spring, the adults emerge from their nests and mate. Soon after, the male will die and the females will lay eggs in the nest. During the summer, when they’re most active, a Carpenter Bee infestation can be a terrifying thing. Having them near your home is never pleasant, but thankfully, they rarely sting. And while the males can be extremely aggressive when agitated, they don’t have a stinger. They really are all “buzz” and no bite.

IF YOU SEE A CARPENTER BEE NEAR YOUR HOME, call us at Accurate Termite & Pest Control immediately. Since Carpenter Bee nests do not bore straight into wood, store-bought insecticides will be of little to no use in combating these wood-boring pests. Once the nest has been treated, wait at least 24 hours before taking measures to prevent future infestations. Carpenter Bees will often use abandoned galleries to start their own nest. So, the infestation you just eliminated can come back just as strong in a couple of years if left alone.

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