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Carpenter Bees in Massachusetts: What You Need to Know

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Carpenter bees will dig out wood to create a nest, but they aren’t like termites or carpenter ants. Carpenter bees are much more exact. This means they won’t demolish a home like a hungry army of termites can. Instead, carpenter bees tend to focus on areas and damage or ruin it by creating galleries. This makes learning about carpenter bees, carpenter bee control and carpenter bee removal in Massachusetts a crucial step you shouldn’t wait to take. Learn more about carpenter bees here:

What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?

Carpenter bees look like fairly large bees. They appear similar to bumble bees, but their relatively harmless cousins are covered in tiny hairs that make them appear fuzzy. Carpenter bees lack this fuzzy appearance. Carpenter bees tend to be shinier. Most are all black or black with a patch of yellow on the head. They are big like a bumblebee and not very fast.

They aren’t as social as most bees and nest in mated pairs or live in very small groups of females. While they don’t congregate in large hives, there may be many small nests in close proximity to one another. The males are usually put on nest-watching duty so you’ll see them hovering.

Do Carpenter Bees Sting?

Carpenter bees aren’t usually aggressive, but they will react if provoked. Male carpenter bees do not sting. They lack a stinger, but that won’t stop them from buzzing around you and worrying you. Female carpenter bees can and will sting if they feel threatened. Of note, both males and females bite but their ferocious-looking mandibles are only good for wood.

Where do Carpenter Bees Nest?

Dry, untreated and unfinished wood is the preferred nesting material of the carpenter bee. That makes your playset or outdoor building a perfect new home for these pests. Here’s how to tell if you have an active infestation of carpenter bees:

  • Round holes. Look for almost perfectly round holes in dry, unfinished wood. They’ll be about a half inch in diameter and there will probably be a little sawdust around the edges or on the ground under the hole.
  • Waste. Carpenter bees typically leave a greenish-yellow streak of fecal waste near their nest’s entry holes.
  • Bees. If you see the males hanging around, it stands to reason that you’ve probably got females laying eggs nearby.

How Do They Damage Property?

Carpenter bees dig out very precise holes in soft wood. This makes decks and posts particularly susceptible targets. Deck furniture can also be destroyed this way, though the bees will typically aim for larger pieces.

Once a carpenter bee has created a hole, it may live there alone or other bees may also use this as an entrance. Rather than creating a single hive, each bee will create a separate gallery for their home. In other words, one hole may lead to several galleries that each contain many eggs. This is why you shouldn’t wait to address carpenter bee control. The longer you wait, the more bees you’ll have.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

You can’t simply grab the first spray you see on hardware store shelves to keep these guys out. It’s tough to get them and keep them from coming back to the nest, so if you’re going the DIY route, do your research carefully and monitor the situation well.

Getting rid of carpenter bees often takes the help of a professional pest control company. Commercially available sprays are often used by homeowners and renters to deal with carpenter bees but this isn’t a very effective treatment. Sprays usually just flush out the bees and drive them to another location. That just means a new hole in your wood nearby the old, sprayed one. Pros have the tools to eliminate the problem and prevent it from recurring. Prevention is your best tool in fighting carpenter bees.

Carpenter bees can live for more than a season so they like to return to the same spots to nest. Make those places less appealing and they’ll find another place to live.

  • Apply pesticides. You’ll have to do this before the bees get active in the early spring. Most pesticides don’t last long in the elements. Rain and snow will wash them away.
  • Fill the holes. Fill up the holes once the larvae have left and no one will be able to come back. Do this in the fall or else they’ll just bore a new exit hole in your wood.
  • Paint. Carpenter bees show a distinct preference for unfinished wood. Apply some paint to deter them.

Preventing an infestation is always better than treating one. Take some time to keep your wooden structures safe.

Carpenter bee problems may be small at the beginning of the life cycle, but as things progress, you can expect real damage. Call a professional pest control company for help today if you suspect you have carpenter bee problems. Ransford Pest Control is more than happy to provide you with relief at 508-756-5197.

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