Termites and carpenter ants are the most destructive insects of wood in structures found in the United States. Yet another insect that must be addressed are Carpenter Bees. Although not as destructive as termites, or carpenter ants, carpenter bees can do their fair share of damage to the exterior of structures. During the summer months, Home Inspectors and Pest Control Professionals (PCP) will be attentive to the damage that results from an infestation of carpenter bees.
Characteristics of Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees Closely resemble bumble bees in that they both have a stocky or robust build. The major difference in their physical characteristic is that the top surface of the abdomen of the carpenter bee is bare black and shiny, whereas the bumble bee has many body hairs and appears fuzzy. Carpenter bees have a dense area of hairs on the hind legs, bumble bees however have dense yellow hairs on the abdomen and large pollen baskets on the hind legs.
Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but the females bore circular holes, about 1/2 inch wide at a right angle for about an inch deep into the wood they infest. They begin to excavate galleries in the direction of the wood grain for about 4-6 inches and this is where they make their nest. They can nest in all species of dried seasoned wood, but they prefer softwood like cedar, redwood, cypress, pine, and fir. They will bore in wooden members on houses such as eves constructed with pine and on decks, fences and dead tree limbs. It's these areas that home inspectors and pest control professionals will take a closer look to determine if any activity exist. Carpenter bees are known to return to the same wood year after year to drill nests and lay eggs. If left untreated the wooden members can weaken resulting in costly repairs.
How can you determine if carpenter bees are nesting in structural wood on your property? If you see a number of bees hovering around the eves for an example, they're protecting the entrance to a gallery and will chase away any intruders, including humans. The males do not sting, however who wants to wait around to determine males from females? If you suspect you have carpenter bees, call a pest control operator. Many have found closing the holes with corks helpful. Painting the wood will not protect it from carpenter bees, but it is helpful since they prefer bare, exposed wood. Some pest control professionals as a last resort use a pesticide in the form of dust that's applied inside the galleries that acts as a residual and is effective in the control of carpenter bees.
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