carpenter bee signs

How To Tell If You Have Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter bees look like bumblebees, so many property owners are unaware that they even have a problem with these insects until they start noticing the damage they cause. Unlike most bees, carpenter bees are relatively solitary, and they live in wood tunnels instead of nests. When the weather is cold, they hibernate in these tunnels, waiting for warmer weather.

It’s essential to take action against carpenter bees as soon as they arrive on your property. You can get rid of them by placing carpenter bee traps and getting rid of carpenter bee attractants around the yard, but only if you know that they are there.

How to Identify Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are predominantly black insects that can be up to one inch long. Some, but not all, of them have yellow stripes on their bodies. Like all insects, they have six legs and antennae, and like all bees, they have wings. Unlike bumblebees, their most similar look-alikes, they don’t have hairy abdomens.

Environmental Symptoms of Carpenter Bees

carpenter beesSince carpenter bees look so much like other species, you may not realize that you have a problem until you start noticing the holes bored into your untreated wood. Inspecting all untreated wood around the exterior of your home and outbuildings frequently is the easiest way to identify and repair bee damage.

The holes are usually around ½ an inch in diameter and are most often found on untreated wood ends. That’s because these bees like to bore in through the bottom of the wood, then follow the grain when they make their tunnels. You might also notice carpenter bee tunnels in piles of logs around your yard.

If you see holes that might indicate be tunnels, check them for signs of activity like a yellowing around the entrance. This discoloration is caused by a combination of bee pollen and excrement. You may also notice sawdust on the ground beneath the tunnels.

The Dangers of Carpenter Bees

bee damageCarpenter bees pose several dangers. If left to their own devices, they can:

  • Sting residents or pets that approach their tunnels
  • Cause substantial structural damage to wood components in your home
  • Stain wood and other surfaces with feces
  • Multiply quickly and get out of hand
  • Only female carpenter bees have stingers. They can be very protective of their nests, so they are most likely to sting you when you approach the tunnels. That’s why it’s always best to start tackling an infestation by placing bee traps around the area and, if it’s safe, in the tunnels themselves before plugging them up.

    Where to Get Professional Help?

    Unless you are allergic to bees, you can probably tackle a carpenter bee infestation by yourself with the right products. BeesNThings has all the traps and plugs you need to get rid of these pests and stop them from coming back. Taking a DIY approach instead of hiring an exterminator can save you a ton of money, so it’s almost always worth the extra effort.