What’s all the buzz about Carpenter Bees?

Are carpenter bees dangerous?  Although the male cannot sting, he can cause concern because of his buzzing around in an aggressive nature.  This behavior is usually what causes people to ask us if carpenter bees are dangerous.

Carpenter Bees in Missouri

The name Carpenter Bee applies to several species of bees in the US that excavate tunnels in sound wood.  The only species of economic importance found in Missouri is Xylocopa virginica.  They are similar in size and appearance to bumble bees, but the top surface of the abdomen being black, almost entirely hairless and shiny.

Males have a white face, whereas the female’s face is black. Remember that face, because the female is the only one that can sting you!

Where do you find Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter bees are often seen hovering near decks, eaves and gables of homes.  The male carpenter bees patrol these areas and will fly near people.  They defend territories and may be aggressive, but they are unable to sting, so their aggression is just a show.  Female carpenter bees do not actively defend nesting sites and are usually not aggressive, but remember… females can sting if they are aggravated.

Carpenter bees are normally considered to be beneficial insects, because they pollinate a wide variety of plant species.  However, when making tunnels in your homes’ deck, eaves and other wooden structures, they are considered a pest.

Although carpenter bees attack many species of dried, seasoned wood, they seem to prefer softwoods such as pine, fir, redwood and cedar.  You may see holes appear in your porch and shed ceiling, railings, overhead trim wooden porch furniture, dead tree limbs, fence posts, wooden shingles and siding, windowsills and wooden doors. Unsightly defecation stains may be present near the openings to carpenter bees tunnels.  Preferred nesting sites are usually at least 2 inches thick.

If you suspect carpenter bees are repurposing your home as a hive, having the problem addressed quickly is crucial for preventing structural and aesthetic damage.

Call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions today at (314) 544-7378 to schedule a free inspection. If bees are present, we’ll perform carpenter bee removal quickly and comprehensively.