Carpenter bees are one of the most frustrating insect infestations you can have. The males are not an issue but the females can and will sting. They are aggressive and territorial and they do not like people coming near their nest. Carpenter bees look very much like bumblebees which are a native bee to America. They are similar at a distance but a close look will tell you exactly what the bee is. While bumblebees are stripped the carpenter bee is all black and shiny, they have a small tuft of yellow fur on their abdomen which is what confuses. If they are on your property then you should be very worried and take action right away.
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While these insects are important pollinators they are also a physical danger to the safety of humans and their homes. The carpenter bees dig into wood to make their nests, this protects them from the winter as they can just seal off the entrance for six months. This means they can continue building their nest indefinitely and that can result in a lot of damage to your house. At any point your foot could go through a deck board or worse, a stair rail could snap. For this reason, carpenter bees are treated exclusively as a pest. They are not protected in any way as bees are.
The life cycle of the carpenter bee is simple. The bees will locate a good place to make a nest, they do this by hovering over wood and then dropping down and hovering again over a different piece of wood. They will do this for hours and it is the easiest way to tell they are carpenter bees. Now like carpenter ants, carpenter bees do not eat the wood, that is what termites do. Carpenter bees burrow through wood and then carry the sawdust to the edge of the hole and dump it out. This is called Frass and is a mix of feces, pieces, or bee and wood shavings. It smells terrible and looks even worse. The females do all the digging, they lay the eggs, they feed the young and raise them. The males buzz around people’s heads in an attempt to get them to stay away from the nest but they cant sting.
If you have these bees on your property you can get rid of them by painting over the wood on your property, it may take a while but it will be very worth it and much less expensive than calling an exterminator. However, there are many inaccessible places to humans that carpenter bees can access easily, and these places, like the drip edge, you cant paint.