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carpenter bee damage

How to Tell if You Have Carpenter Bees

Last Updated on November 17, 2020 by Bees N Things

To a bee expert, the difference between carpenter bees and more innocuous species is unmistakable. Unfortunately, the average homeowner doesn’t have that kind of specialized knowledge. If you’ve noticed bees floating around your home or outbuildings, you’ll need to do some investigating. Read on to find out how to tell if you have carpenter bees or just regular, run-of-the-mill bumblebees.

Differences in Appearance

bee pestsAt first glance, carpenter bees and bumblebees have a lot in common. They both have robust bodies less than one inch long with six legs and antennae. There are two primary differences to look for.

  1. Bumblebees have abdominal hair, while carpenter bees do not.
  2. Carpenter bees are either yellow or black, while bumblebees have yellow and black stripes.

Secondary Signs of a Carpenter Bee Infestation

It’s not always possible to get a close look at bees, especially if you’re allergic to them. If you’re uncomfortable getting up-close and personal, don’t worry. There are other signs of carpenter bees you can look out for.

Wood Damage

The first sign that many homeowners notice of carpenter bee infestations is bore-holes in their wood. The carpenter bees bore these entrance holes to make their nests. You should check all exposed wood surfaces around your home’s exterior for carpenter bee damage repair. In addition to the holes, you might also notice small piles of sawdust on the ground.

Aggressive Behavior

Carpenter bees aren’t known for stinging, but the males can be quite aggressive. If you get close to the nest, you may notice them buzzing around near the entrance. They even hover in homeowners’ faces trying to scare them off.

Recurring Problems

Depending on where you live, your bees may vacate the property in the winter. If they’re carpenter bees, they will be back. Carpenter bees tend to return to the same nests each year, as do their offspring. Every time they return, it causes additional damage to your wood.

What to Do

wood beesThe first thing to do if you think you have carpenter bees is to invest in a bee trap. Carpenter bee traps are designed to entice the bees in using a wooden block with pre-drilled holes. Instead of leading to your porch or shed, the holes lead into a glass or plastic jar. Once the bees find their way into the transparent container, they can’t get back out.

Traps for carpenter bees give you a chance to get a safe look at these nuisance insects. Only carpenter bees will be enticed into the trap. Having an example to look at will make it easier to identify them in the future.

You may have to empty the traps several times. Once you’re confident the carpenter bees are gone, you can start repairing the damage they’ve done. Seal the holes by filling them with dowels or sticks and caulking over them. Just make sure you wait until you’re confident there are no more bees in the nest.

Life Is Better Bee-Free

Some bees serve essential functions in local ecosystems. The primary role of the carpenter bee is to destroy your home and wood outbuildings or structures. If you think you might have carpenter bees, start laying be traps now.