Arrow Exterminators Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Carpenter Bees: Giving Termites a Run for Their Money

Rick Bell VP of Government Affairs

Every spring, Arrow Exterminators likes to educate our customers on one of the south's most notorious pests - termites. With the potential to cause more than $5 billion in structural damages each year often not covered by homeowners' insurance, termites are a definite threat to homes. However, there is another pest that is giving termites a run for their money - and yours too - carpenter bees.

In recent years, Arrow has been receiving more and more calls about carpenter bees, particularly during the spring. It is during this time of the year that they begin to emerge from hibernation and build their nests. Though, unlike other stinging insects that build their nests in trees, shrubs or under the eaves of buildings, carpenter bees create their nests by drilling holes into wood.

Carpenter bees like to make their home in soft woods such as cedar, pine, redwood and cypress. While they prefer bare, weathered and unpainted wood, they will drill holes through painted or stained wood to build their nests. The holes can weaken the integrity of the wood, causing major structural damage to decks, door frames, wooden shingles, fences, windowsills and outdoor furniture.

Homeowners often ask us how they can distinguish carpenter bees from regular bees. Bearing a slight resemblance to bumble bees, the major difference is that their abdomens are bare, shiny and black. Male carpenter bees do not have stingers, but can be extremely aggressive, often hovering around and diving at those who are near their nest. Female carpenter bees, on the other hand, have stingers, but will only attack if provoked.

If you notice a swarm of carpenter bees in your area, be sure to contact a pest professional immediately to avoid an infestation, as well as potential costly damages to your home.