Carpenter Bees Typically Don’t Sting
Carpenter bees are large bees that are up to 25 mm long, depending on the species. In the U.S., there are two genera of carpenter bees: small carpenter bees (Ceratina) and large carpenter bees (Xylocopa). Large carpenter bees are the type most likely to become a pest.
Small carpenter bees are less than 8 mm long while large carpenter bees are up to 25 mm long. Large carpenter bees look similar to bumble bees although they do not have visible hairs on the abdomen. Carpenter bees come in many colors such as black, metallic blue, or purple-blue. The males have yellow sections on their face while both genders have hair on the abdomen and legs. The small carpenter bees are usually darker in color. Bee pest control in El Paso can and will be important if you come in contact with a large group of bees.
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Carpenter bees are solitary bees, which means they do not live in colonies. These bees eat plant pollen and nectar, but they can damage woodwork because they excavate dry, weathered wood on doors, windowsills, roof eaves, decks, fences, and wood lawn furniture. Carpenter bees are usually fond of oak posts in rail fences. While this bee prefers Cyprus, oak, fir, and pine, they will damage other types of wood.
While female carpenter bees can sting, they rarely do so unless they are directly threatened. The male bees are often found near the nest, but they do not have a stinger.
Unlike most bees and wasps, carpenter bees are solitary creatures. Some species of carpenter bees do create small nests in which mothers and daughters live. Despite the fact that they do not form colonies, it’s common to find many carpenter bees nesting near each other. The founding bee is responsible for foraging, building the nest, laying the eggs, and guarding the nest.
Carpenter bees may employ one of two mating strategies. Among species in which male bees have large eyes, the male searches for a female then pursues. Among species in which males have small heads, the males release a pheromone as they fly to attract females. Some species of small carpenter bees are capable of producing without males.
Do You Have a Carpenter Bee Infestation?
Carpenter bees leave very recognizable entrance holes when they bore into wood. Female bees chew round entrances into flat wood surfaces. These holes are usually about 1/2″ wide, or about the diameter of the bee’s body. The holes are perfectly circular and look like they were drilled with a drill bit. Upon inspection, you may see that the hole goes into the wood perpendicular to the grain for an inch or two before turning sharply. You may notice pollen or bee droppings near the entrance.
Carpenter bees are beneficial insects as they are pollinators. They can be a pest, though, and it is possible for the bees to cause structural damage to furniture, posts, and roof eaves. If you have a problem with carpenter bees on your property, contact Pest Defense Solutions to discuss population control options.