If you can't enjoy your deck or yard in spring without being dive-bombed by large, shiny bees, you may have a carpenter bee problem. These bees, as their name suggests, prefer to make their homes in wood. They do not form large hives, but instead mate in pairs. Each female digs into a wooden surface to create her nest.
While they are generally harmless, they can damage your property and are not afraid to confront intruders. Dive-bombing males are often a sign that you have more than a few carpenter bee pairs to deal with.
Understanding Carpenter Bee Aggression
Unlike regular honey bees, carpenter bees are all capable of reproduction. As a result, they compete over mates like many other animals. In the spring, male carpenter bees begin showing off and fighting to establish their territory. Later, when females are tending to eggs in the nest, they will stay nearby to drive away intruders.
It is important to remember, however, that male carpenter bees do not have stingers. It may be frightening to have a large bee fly toward your face, but they cannot do more than scare you. Female carpenter bees sting only when their young are in danger.
Finding the Nest
Once you realize you have a few new neighbors, it's a good idea to learn where they have built their nests. Look in areas with unstained wood; carpenter bees prefer softer woods for their excavations. You may notice holes leading to shallow burrows and wood shavings below them. The females will either be inside of them or waiting near the entrance.
You are most likely to be stung by a carpenter bee while poking around the nest, so treat them with respect. Whenever you feel uncertain about working with pests or can't find the nests, call in professionals like Patton Pest Control to handle the problem safely and efficiently.
Deciding on a Course of Action
After identifying your pests as carpenter bees and finding their nests, you must make a decision about their future. On the one hand, carpenter bees can be annoying creatures. Their nests, while small, may damage your home or other wooden structures over time.
On the other, they are essentially harmless and can be valuable pollinators for your garden. With honey bee populations declining, carpenter bees may play a valuable role in your yard's ecosystem. You can choose to treat your property for bees each year, but a good pest control service can also help you learn to live with each other in a safer and less stressful environment.
Treating Your Property for Carpenter Bees
Large colonies of carpenter bees or nests in a very inconvenient place, should still be treated to prevent safety risks. The common method for removal is to dust their nests with insecticide. If you choose to do this on your own, you put yourself at risk for both bee stings and improperly handling chemicals.
You may also miss several nests, encouraging the survivors to return next year. Investing in a professional pest control treatment will not only see the bees gone, but their nests covered over to block future use.
Deterring Carpenter Bees in the Future
Carpenter bees will come looking for nesting sites every spring. Even once your initial problem is taken care of, you will need to address the conditions that made your property appealing to them in the first place.
Staining or painting any exposed wood is a good way to keep the bees at bay. You might also consider setting up a post or other piece of untreated wood near your garden. By giving them a better alternative, you can naturally discourage bees from tunneling into your home or deck.
At Patton Pest Control, we believe in looking after our customers' long-term well-being. If you are tired of being greeted every morning by dive-bombing bees, give us a call to learn more about your options today.