The carpenter bee comes in 500 different species and is characterized by its black color and slow flight. These bees tend to show up throughout the countries spanning across the globe including the United States in the spring of the year. It resembles the bumblebee but it doesn’t have the yellow stripes, except for the Japanese version, which does feature a yellow jacket.
The make carpenter bee can act quite aggressive when it is guarding its nest. It will fly in your face to try to get your to leave. However this is an act as it doesn’t have a stinger so it cannot sting you. The female does have the stinger but does not use it unless provoked. These bees come out from their nests in April or May to mate and once the male has finished mating, it dies and the female takes over its guarding position. The female then makes the nest larger and creates more tunnels to deposit her eggs into. Once she seals up the eggs, she dies. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the pollen and nectar that has been stored. When they grow into adults, which is around the end of summer, they leave the nest to collect pollen, hibernate until the next winter and the cycle continues.
Knowing the Carpenter Bee
Wasps: The carpenter bee should not be confused with wasps, although they aren’t the same as the killer bee or honey bee. The nests look like round holes chewed into the siding of your home which might be in the siding, deck, eaves or other such places. Wasp nests are an ugly sort of grey that appear papery and the creatures are highly aggressive.
Termites: Carpenter bees often get away with their work with it being blamed on termites but they do not eat wood like the termites. The holes that these bees make are bigger than termites and they leave a substance similar to sawdust as they go.
Controlling the Carpenter Bees
The best way to control the presence of carpenter bees is to paint all of the wood on the outside of your home. While stains and preservatives can assist in the matter, paint works better. Before painting, check for holes in the wood and fill and seal them. Also before that, spray them with insecticide and leave them for a couple of days. While doing any of this, wear protective clothing in case the female bee comes along or wait to do this until a time when the bees are not active.
In the case that you have bees in your wall space, these are not carpenter bees but they are honey bees. After the bees have stopped being active, fill the entry sites or call a beekeeper.