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Carpenter Bee Removal & Control

Every critter has their own story.

The secret of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a proven, cost-effective strategy to combat pest problems without unnecessary pesticide use, is to understand the life-cycle of the pest that is pestering.

Carpenter bee on a wooden surface.
What do carpenter bees look like and why are they concerning?

Carpenter bees get their name from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood, or even bamboo. Carpenter bees are black and yellow, and they are about 1 inch long.

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They resemble bumble bees, but their abdomen is black and shiny and they do not have the long yellow hairs found on bumblebees. Female carpenter bees have black faces and males have yellow faces. Carpenter bees tend to create their nesting galleries inside of wood around homes and businesses. They usually revisit the same galleries each year, and build new ones into the same sections of wood, which can cause structural damage. Further damage can come from hungry woodpeckers attacking carpenter bee nests to get to their larvae. Female carpenter bees, although usually not aggressive, can sting if they are threatened, and the venom from the sting has the potential to cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Carpenter bee on a flower.
Where do carpenter bees live?

Carpenter Bees prefer aged and unfinished wood. They generally start by tunneling under decks that don’t have a varnish or paint finish.

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It is also common for carpenter bees to build their nests in places like eaves, rafters, siding, and outdoor furniture. Carpenter bees are solitary do not live in colonies like most other types of bees. Instead, they construct a series of connected tunnels for themselves, their mate, and their eggs.

Carpenter bee on a rock.
Why do I have a carpenter bee problem?

Carpenter bees are attracted to untreated wood, especially when it is weathered or cracked. They prefer softer woods, like cedar, cypress, pine, and redwood.

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Pressure- treated wood and wood with paint or varnish are much less likely to be attacked by carpenter bees. Plant nectar is a source of food for carpenter bees, so properties with large amounts of flowers tend to draw them in. If the flowers are close enough to a wooden structure, the carpenter bees will subsequently find the wood and may infest it.

Carpenter bee on a person's hand.
When are carpenter bees active?

Carpenter bees begin activity near the end of winter, when the weather starts warming up. Those that survived the winter begin mating in April and May, which is when they are most commonly encountered.

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In the later part of spring into summer, carpenter bees nest and a new generation is born, making spring an ideal time for preventive measures. The newly born carpenter bees emerge in August and September to feed and pollinate flowers, before returning to their nests again for the winter.

Carpenter bee on a twig.
What’s the best way to prevent a carpenter bee infestation?

In order to avoid attracting carpenter bees, the amount of flowers and plants in the area immediately surrounding buildings should be limited.

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One of the best ways to deter carpenter bees from nesting in your home or business is by painting or varnishing any unfinished wood. When building any new structures, such as decks or sheds, use hardwood rather than softwood. Additionally, any exterior cracks and openings should be sealed. If a hole has remained from a previous season, a Carpenter Bee will reuse it. Have EXCEL get your extermination done before nesting begins, and talk about a recurring maintenance plan with your EXCEL Pest Control expert.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of a carpenter bee infestation?

Some signs include; 1. Round holes in wood: these are usually entry points for carpenter bees to create their nests. 2. Sawdust: sawdust and wood shavings from their drilling holes can cause piles of debris below the holes. 3. Presence: seeing large, dark coloured bees, especially during spring and summer can be a sign of a infestation.

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