Carpenter bees are certainly a nuisance to anyone who is trying to relax on their deck or who is unlucky enough to be parked in a garage on a warm Spring Day when these darting pests seem to surround the vehicle.

Carpenter bees remind many of a bumble bee, but carpenter bees are not bumble bees. While both the male and female bumble bees are ferocious stingers, only the female carpenter bee has the ability to sting when threatened. The male carpenter bee does not have the ability to sting. Carpenter bees are not social insects, so they do not aggressively protect the eggs because there is no nest.

While being great pollinators, the carpenter bee is a wood-destroying pest that can cause considerable damage. This type of bee emerges in April and May ready to mate. The male carpenter bee excavates an entrance hole that is about ½ inch in diameter and then turns laterally eating the soft grain of the wood creating a tunnel or gallery. After the galleries are made, the females go to work producing eggs for the next brood that will develop and emerge in the next hatching season. Eggs laid in the galleries are separated by a thin waxy membrane that protects them until young bees emerge. Then the breeding cycle starts again with the new bees drilling out of the wood gallery causing even more damage.

Carpenter bees are one of the four wood-destroying insects and are often overlooked until damage occurs, or when they are reported on a Wood Destroying Insect Report during a real estate sale. These wood-destroying insects are partial to cedar siding and trim, log homes, decks, pergolas, carports, and any other wood structure. Do not procrastinate when it comes to the carpenter bee. The longer one waits to control the population, the greater the damage that can occur.