All About The Little-Known Carpenter Bee In Wilmington

February 28, 2020

You’ve probably heard of carpenter ants, but have you ever heard of carpenter bees? Their name might make you think of a helpful little insect with a hardhat and hammer, but it’s a bit of a misnomer. Carpenter bees don’t get their name because they enjoy building with wood; they get their name because they destroy wood. Here’s what you need to know about the little-known carpenter bee in Wilmington.

a carpenter bee on a wooden post outside

What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?

Carpenter bees are very similar in appearance to everybody’s favorite bee; the bumblebee. They have large oval bodies with yellow and black markings, six legs, a pair of antennae, and they range in length from a quarter of an inch to a full inch. Carpenter bees vary in appearance from bumblebees in one major way. While bumblebees are fuzzy, carpenter bees are not. Instead, they have shiny black abdomens where bumblebees are covered in fuzzy yellow hair. 

The Pros And Cons Of Carpenter Bees

Like other bees, carpenter bees are an important part of our ecosystem. They pollinate flowers and plants. Considering that insect pollination is responsible for a third of our food supply, you can see why carpenter bees provide a positive contribution to our world.

However, they have their downside too. Unlike other bees that build a hive and live in a colony, carpenter bees are solitary creatures. They bore holes in wood where they live and lay their eggs. When carpenter bees live on your property, they bore holes into wooden structures, such as porch beams or siding. Over time, enough damage can be done to compromise the structural integrity of the structure.

Furthermore, since carpenter bees lay their eggs within the wooden structures, sometimes woodpeckers are attracted to these holes in order to eat the larvae. This leads to faster and larger damage.

How To Prevent Carpenter Bees

It’s difficult to keep carpenter bees away from your property entirely. However, limiting your gardens or keeping your gardens a distance from any wooden structures can help. It also helps to paint or stain any wood that you have outside. Although carpenter bees still sometimes target painted or stained wood, they’re more likely to nest in untreated wood. Additionally, carpenters prefer aged, untreated, unpainted, and unstained wood. Therefore, the maintenance of wooden structures outside of your home will make them less appealing to these insects.

Be mindful that unlike other wood-destroying insects, carpenter bees likely won't burrow far enough into wooden structures to destroy it entirely. However, they will create an aesthetic nightmare as they create holes to hibernate in and lay their eggs.

If you rely on these pollinators to keep your wildflowers and gardens thriving, you may consider building bee houses. You can place these bee houses away from your home around the perimeter of your property. You can make a bee house by drilling small holes into a piece of dry hardwood. If available, carpenter bees and perhaps other species will likely make their home in these spaces rather than the structural wood of your home or outbuildings.  


How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees On Your Wilmington Property

If you’ve noticed holes in your wooden structures or seen bees buzzing around that you think are carpenter bees, it may be time to call in the professionals. Bug-N-A-Rug Exterminators can positively identify which bees you’re dealing with and confirm or deny whether the holes you’ve discovered are caused by carpenter bees. If they are, we’ll take care of the problem for you so that they don’t cause further damage. Contact us to schedule pest control services today.

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