June 19, 2019
Most Greenville homeowners realize that when an insect has the word "carpenter" in its name, it's bad news. That generalization holds for carpenter bees, which are active in the spring and summer here in South Carolina.
Carpenter bees look a lot like bumble bees. They are black and yellow and relatively large. Carpenter bees got their name because they tunnel into wood to create living spaces.
The adult bees spend the winter in old tunnels and emerge in the spring. The males appear first, usually around April or May, followed by the females. Unlike most bees, which form large colonies, carpenter bees are called “solitary bees” with each female doing most of the tunneling to creates areas in which to lay eggs.
After laying eggs in the summer, the adult bees die off within a few weeks. However, the eggs quickly hatch, and another generation of bees begins.
Signs to Look For
There are several signs to look for if you think you may have carpenter bees.
Look for holes in wooden structures, such as your deck, fences, eaves, children's play fort/swing set, and the exterior of your home. Carpenter bee holes are round and about a ½ inch in diameter. The bees prefer wood that's untreated and unpainted, but they'll bore into painted timber too.
If you find holes, look around on the ground below for wood shavings that indicate recent activity.
Be aware of increased activity by woodpeckers which may indicate carpenter bees are present. Woodpeckers like to feed on their larvae.
When to Get Help
While carpenter bees aren't as big a concern as termites are for your wood structures, they can do some damage. One tunneling female may not matter much, but generally, if the area is enticing to one carpenter bee, it'll be attractive to many of them.
Additionally, carpenter bees tend to return to the same holes year after year, and they add to their tunnels each year. Tunnels can easily reach 6 or 7 inches, but it’s not unusual for them to be more than a foot long. Sometimes, more than one bee will use the same hole, with each bee building off a tunnel in a different direction. The cumulative damage can add up.
If you see any signs that carpenter bees are present on your property, don’t try to fix the problem with DIY methods. DIY treatments are ineffective in controlling carpenter bees, and you run the risk of creating environmental damage.
Instead, call Spencer Pest Services to verify the presence of carpenter bees and take the necessary steps to eliminate them and prevent their return. Our trained professionals have the knowledge and equipment to address your bee issue safely, so call today to schedule a visit.