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Carpenter Bees

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Frequently Asked Questions About Carpenter Bees

What are carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees are a native species of bee and are important pollinators. These large bees are black and yellow and have a hairless, shiny abdomen. 

Carpenter bees are a solitary bee species. Each female creates her own nest where she lays her eggs, and she cares for the larvae until they develop into new adults. These bees received their name because the females built their nests inside pieces of wood. These uninvited carpenters can become quite problematic when they make their nests in wood located in our homes or wooden structures on our properties. 

Continue reading here to learn about carpenter bees in Tennessee and how to best keep them from your property.

Are carpenter bees dangerous?

The carpenter bee is a type of stinging insect that surprisingly does not pose significant health risks to people. 

An interesting carpenter bee fact is that male carpenter bees lack stingers and, therefore cannot deliver painful stings. However, males are quite aggressive and will dart at and swarm around people, causing unneeded stress and worry of being stung. Female carpenter bees can sting but are very docile, and it takes a lot of provoking for them to sting. 

Though their stings aren’t a huge concern, what is a concern is the damage they can cause when nesting on our properties. While a single bee won’t be able to cause noticeable damage, many female carpenter bees like to nest in the same area. Then, their offspring will create new nesting sites in the same area. Over time, a carpenter bee infestation causes significant and costly damage.

Why do I have a carpenter bee problem?

Carpenter bees are flying outdoor pests. They can become comfortable in any outdoor space with plentiful food sources. Though their name may suggest otherwise, carpenter bees do not eat wood. Their diet consists of pollen, nectar, and other sweet liquids they can find. Properties with many flowering trees, plants, and gardens attract the attention of carpenter bees. Open trash cans, outdoor eating areas, and hummingbird feeders can also provide these pests with reliable access to food.

Where will I find carpenter bees?

Female carpenter bees prefer to build their nest inside pieces of wood that are older or unpainted. They also prefer softwoods over hardwoods and pieces of wood two or more inches thick. Wooden things in most of our yards that offer these pests a suitable nesting site include doors, windowsills, shingles, railings, lawn furniture, and play structures. 

Female carpenter bees begin their nests by drilling a perfectly round hole about the diameter of their body into the wood. They will continue tunneling through the wood, and after the tunnel is one inch deep, they make a right turn going with the grain. Carpenter bees reuse their nests, and every year, the tunnels will get larger and larger, affecting the structural integrity of the wood.

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How can I prevent carpenter bees in the future?

Avoid the damage that carpenter bees can cause by implementing the following prevention tips:

  • Place metal flashing on the ends of deck boards and railings.
  • Remove fallen or dead trees and other older wooden structures from your property.
  • Seal holes or cracks you come across in wooden siding, wooden trim, or deck boards.
  • Paint or stain decks, steps, furniture, and other wooden structures.
  • Don’t overplant flowering vegetation near your home’s windows and doors.
  • Remove standing water from your property. 

For the best pest control in Cookeville, contact the professionals at Midstate Termite & Pest Control.

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