Most of us here in Baltimore probably have a pretty complicated relationship with bees. On the one hand, bumblebees are cute as a button, and all bees are vital to the survival of just about every species on Earth. On the other hand, getting stung by a bee is never fun, and a lot of us are afraid of these buzzing insects. Some of us are even quite allergic to them.

However, when it comes to carpenter bees, things get a lot less complicated. These wood-boring bees are some destructive little buggers, and they can pose a few different threats to your property – some more serious than others. Let’s talk about how carpenter bees are different from bumblebees, how they can damage your home, and what to do about them.

How To Spot Carpenter Bees

From a distance, it can be hard to tell the difference between carpenter bees and bumblebees, but once you get up close, it’s pretty easy. Carpenter bees are big and fat like bumblebees. But instead of sporting a fuzzy, yellow-and-black abdomen like the bumblebee, carpenter bees’ abdomens are shiny, hairless, and entirely black.

Bumblebees and carpenter bees also have different nesting habits. While bumblebees like to find existing holes in the ground (like abandoned gopher holes or empty hollows), carpenter bees use their wood-boring mandibles to drill holes into wood, laying their eggs inside the hollows once they’re excavated to the right depth. Carpenter bee nests can be up to a few feet deep with multiple egg chambers.

Why You Don’t Want Carpenter Bees

While these bees are rarely as devastating as termites or carpenter ants, they can still do considerable damage to your property. They don’t live in colonies, but they tend to prefer the same nesting spots, so if your wooden structure is attractive to one female carpenter bee, it’s probably going to be attractive to a lot of female carpenter bees. This means you can wind up with dozens of ½-1” diameter, 6-48” deep holes all over places like rafters, support beams, ceiling panels, wall planks, and more. Needless to say, enough of these holes can start to mess with your home’s structural integrity. Once the eggs hatch, the sounds of carpenter bee larva can also attract woodpeckers, which wreak their own havoc on the wooden materials of your home.

Prevention And Extermination

If you want to discourage carpenter bee activity, there are a few things you can do to make your home less attractive to them. Prevention methods include:

  • Paint Or Varnish – Carpenter bees have a harder time boring through treated wood, so painting or staining all exposed wood can encourage them to look elsewhere for nesting sites. Vulnerable areas include railings, decks, outdoor ceiling or wall panels, fences, and doors.
  • Plug Holes – if you go behind bees and plug up the holes they excavate with putty or caulk, forcing them to redo the same work over and over can also make them move on.
  • Remove Water Sources – if carpenter bees can’t access water close to their nests, they’ll seek places, where water sources are more convenient, so removing pet bowls, birdbaths, etc. from around your property, can make your home less attractive.

Unfortunately, sometimes carpenter bees just decide your property is too pretty to pass up. If that happens, you’re going to need some expert help. Here at Pest Czar, customer satisfaction is at the core of all we do! Since 2013, we’ve been providing effective, environmentally friendly pest control solutions all over the Baltimore area. If you’re ready to evict the six-legged freeloaders on your property, give us a call at (855) 273-0517 or visit our contact page to get started today.