A Carpenter Bee is a large round and Fat Bee that are black and yellow. Carpenter Bees are usually seen in the spring flying, darting and hovering around around the eaves of a house or under a porch rail or deck. Most people think they are Bumble Bees but on closer inspection and by their action you can see the differences. Carpenter Bees have a black shiny abdomen and some muted pale yellow hair on the back. The Carpenter Bee get its name because of the way it makes tunnels in wood with its strong jaws. Carpenter Bees overwinter as adults, often inside old nest tunnels, most die but lay a lot of eggs before then. They emerge in April and May.
Carpenter Bees resemble Bumble Bees and are often mistaken. The abdomen is bare and shiny black like like the Bumble Bee that is quite hairy. They are usually about 1". The Carpenter Bee is a Big Bee and appear to be aggressive by the common behavior of approaching people if they move quickly or wave a hand in the air. The males may even hover a short distance from people causing unnecessary panic.
The Female Carpenter Bee has a stinger and the ability to sting but only if you pick it up. There is always a chance of an allergic reaction from an unlikely sting. Male Carpenter Bees do not have stingers. The males are the ones that seem to be the most aggressive by darting at you and away. This is more nerve racking than dangerous.
Cobra Pest Control always give a Free inspection first. Cost is based on amount of wood to be treated and how easy or hard is is to get to. What size ladder; 6', 10', 24', 32' or the dreaded 40'. I recommend that you always get at least 2-3 estimates. Cobra is a one man operation with very little overhead. I have no salaries to pay, no commissions, and I personally do all the work myself. So I know it will be done right the first time. Go with price, experience, and what your instincts about the technician tells you. Ask ALOT of questions.
The most obvious sign is the Big Black Bees that resemble Bumble Bees. Saw dust which is called Frass can be found on the ground below the drilled wood. Another sign is perfectly round holes found in the wood about 5/8”. You need a local Carpenter Bee Expert for total control otherwise the problem will return year after year getting progressively worse.
Carpenter Bee surface damage look like an electric drill was used creating a perfectly round hole about 1/2"-3/4" in diameter. The interior damage can be quite extensive considering their bulk. The interior tunnels can run through the entire length of the board. Signs are the exit holes, unexplained saw dust, the hovering and darting of Bees around the eaves and a yellow staining which is Carpenter Bee fecal matter below the holes
Since Carpenter Bees like the upper areas of the house you will require some tall ladders. Some over the counter Pest control products may help but you need to inject it directly into the openings. If you do this during the day the insecticide will need to have a residual affect that will kill the returning Bees not in the hole at the time. Next you will need to treat all the wood with a product designed to cover the wood. After the Bees are gone you may fill the holes with wood putty. Its possible if you did not get a good kill, hatching eggs turning into Adult Carpenter Bees will drill out right where you patched. Ideally the Best way is from a Licensed Pest Control Company like Cobra Pest Control.
Carpenter Bees get their common name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for the rearing of young. Carpenter Bees resemble Bumble Bees but do not have bright yellow markings, they can have a more pale yellow. They don't have a hive as Honey Bees, but are Solitary Bees. The Female Carpenter Bee can get into small areas, boring holes. They are perfectly round, about 3/8 " in diameter.The female carpenter Bee will bore a channel or main corridor in the wood from 6 " to as long as 4 feet to lay their eggs in "galleries". She will deposit an egg, bring in a mass of pollen for the newly hatched larvae to feed on, and then seal it all off to ensure it's development before she repeats the process for the next egg. Although, they are a Wood Boring Insect, they are not considered a true Structural Pest. They do not spread through out the entire structure, but prefer unpainted or finished wood.The male bee is unable to sting. It is the male carpenter bee, which is most often noticed. A common behavior of the males is to approach people if they move quickly or wave a hand in the air. The female however, is capable of stinging but seldom does. She must be extremely provoked before she will sting. For the most part you will only get stung if you pick up a female Carpenter Bee. Carpenter Bees will overwinter as adults inside the nest tunnels. They usually emerge in April and May with the males usually the first to appear. Males can be distinguished sometimes from females by a whitish spot on the front of the face. Males are the ones darting to and fro looking for a mate similar to the human male teenager. The drilled holes start inward for about 1/2" then make a turn following the wood grain. The tunnel chambers called Galleries will run 6" to 7" but overtime will exceed one foot. Carpenter Bees can use the same entrance hole but will create their own tunnels in the opposite direction.
Carpenter Bees can fly in from surrounding areas. Infestations usually start with one or two Bees probably from the year before and not noticed. Carpenter Bees will lay eggs and over winter in these tunnels. In a year or two you can have a full blown infestation.