Carpenter bees are large bee-like insects that resemble the bumble be as
they have similar body structure and coloring. However, unlike their bee
relatives, carpenter bees are generally not aggressive. Only the female
carpenter bee is capable of stinging, and will only do so when provoked. These
creatures like sylvan environments, as they like to burrow tunnels inside wood
to set up nest. The following excerpt from The Bug Clinic explains the
nesting habits of the carpenter bee:
Carpenter bees . . . enter primarily unpainted softwoods such as pine and chew
that nice 3/8" entry hole. After chewing a relatively short entrance, the bee
will chew another tunnel, several inches long at a ninety-degree angle to the
opening where (if it's a female) it will lay eggs starting from the back and
working toward the opening. These bees will nest in the wood. There is
typically one generation of these insects annually with most of the activity in
the spring. These bees are known to return to previously used galleries from
year to year although other bees can make new galleries as well.
As your experience dictates, these insects are most often found in fascia
board, deck railings, unpainted lawn furniture, posts, and unpainted playground
Yes, you can manage this pest problem yourself! Exclusion is one method
of getting rid of these insects. Sealing and painting over the surfaces where
you have found these little critters will help prevent them from setting up
nest. The Bug Clinic recommends a good enamel or polyurethane as these are
the most durable and least likely to be attacked again. Another exclusion
method they recommend is to wrap exposed wood with aluminum flashing in areas
such as the gutter fascia.
Pesticides are another possible solution to your problem. Dust is the
most effective pesticide for active carpenter bee nests. Products such as,
bendiocarb (Ficam D available, but no longer in production), carbaryl (Sevin)
dust and boric acid (Borid Turbo Aerosol) are effective. Two specific products
that you can purchase directly from the Bug Clinic website are Apicide
and Borid Turbo. For more information on these products and how to purchase
them please visit http://www.bugclinic.com/products.htm#Apicide.
For more information on carpenter bee pest management you may wish to contact
the Bug Clinic directly. Their toll free number is (800) 433-1128.
Alternatively, they can be reached via fax at (845)-356-2836 or by Email at
Additional Websites that may interest you:
Pestproducts.com, carpenter bees page offers information on carpenter bee
biology, signs of infestation, ways to eliminate these insects.
Do Your Own Pest Control explains how to identify and eliminate the carpenter
Ohio State University Extension, Entomology a fact sheet on carpenter bees.
University of Kentucky Entomology - gives a summary describing the carpenter
bee that includes pictures.
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I hope this information is helpful. Good Luck!