Carpenter Bees

Identification

  • Colour Yellow and shiny black
  • Size 12 to 25 mm in length
  • Also known as Xylocopa
  • Description Carpenter bees are a group of bees which, as the name suggests, tunnel and nest in wood. They represent some of the roughly 800 species of bees found in Canada. Unlike other social bee species, carpenter bees are solitary creatures that nest in excavated wood galleries instead of forming large colonies. Named for their carpenter-like abilities, the bees bore into wood to construct tunnels with individually partitioned cells for their offspring. Over time, the wood-boring activities of carpenter bees can cause major structural damage. Although they can be destructive, carpenter bees are important pollinators which rarely pose threats to the physical wellbeing of humans.

General Facts

Why do I have carpenter bees?

Instead of establishing colonies with other members of the same species, carpenter bees construct individual nests in wood structures. They build nests in trees as well as man made items crafted of wood. Carpenter bees prefer to nest in softwoods, such as cedar, cypress, fir, pine, coast redwood, and spruce, and prefer to attack exposed, weathered and unpainted wood. The pests tunnel into wooden structures such as decks and porches, doors, fence posts, roof eaves and shingles, lawn furniture, railings, telephone poles, and windowsills.

How worried should I be about carpenter bees?

The manner in which carpenter bees construct their nests can cause minor to severe property damage. When a single carpenter bee bores into a wood structure to build a nest, the damage is typically minor and limited to the cosmetic damage created by the presence of the entrance holes. However, when left untreated, future generations of carpenter bees often reuse the same nests by simply expanding the network of tunnels and constructing new cells for eggs. Over time, the continued expansion of the nest may cause severe structural damage. In addition to damaging property, carpenter bees annoy and alarm homeowners. Male bees often defend the nest by flying aggressively at intruders. Females can sting, though they rarely do.

How can I prevent carpenter bees invading?

Because carpenter bees prefer exposed and unpainted wood, painting or applying varnish to wood structures can help deter the pests from boring. Wood stains, however, fail to act as an effective deterrent. Homeowners and residents should also remain on the lookout for any signs of carpenter bees and contact a pest control professional in the event that an infestation occurs. Professional pest control specialists can manage and control carpenter bees safely and properly, in addition to providing information on how to prevent future problems.

Other pests related to Carpenter Bees

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