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With warmer weather on the approach, people are finding themselves getting back into the swing of summer activities. Whether it be filling the propane tanks, cleaning the grill, or pulling the old lawnmower out of storage, summer also always brings animals and insects. With warmer weather on the horizon, animals are starting to stir from their long sleep, flowers enter the blooming stages, and insects will start stirring about. While there are thousands of insects to concern yourself with, it will be the carpenter bee that most people are keeping a wary eye on.
What Is The Carpenter Bee?
It doesn’t take a genius to surmise that the carpenter bee is a species of the bee family or flying insect family. Carpenter bees are unique in the fact that they are considered one of the few solitary bee species. This means they don’t travel or thrive in packs. They typically grow anywhere from ½” to 1 ½”. Males are distinguished with black and orange colors while females are usually solid black. It would not be uncommon for someone to mistake this species with the common bumblebee.
That said, the major difference between the two species is in the abdominal region. The bumblebee most often features a hairy abdomen, whereas the carpenter bee’s abdomen is black and shiny. Of course, if you are like many, you won’t likely be volunteering to get close enough to distinguish between the two.
What Makes The Carpenter Bee Different?
Right about now, you are probably wondering why so many people will be on the lookout for carpenter bees. Aren’t bees just one of the insects associated with summer? That is true, however, carpenter bees are much different than their counterparts, particularly the females of the species. As you just learned above, carpenter bees are set apart from other species with their solitary nature.
However, this is not the only area where they differ. Carpenter bees, the females, in particular, are attracted to wood. The female carpenter bee oftentimes bores into wood. She makes a hole in the wood and chews her way through, creating a perfect ½” wide hole in the wood. The sizing and shape of the hole are truly something to see if you ever get the change because it is perfect. The female of the species possesses an uncanny ability to bore the perfectly sized ½” hole. It looks almost as if the hole was drilled with a drill bit.
Once burrowed inside the hole, the female will then make a 90-degree turn to expand the tunnel the entire length of the wood. The purpose of this task is so that she can deposit her larvae inside these chambers.
Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?
Given the female carpenter bee’s uncanny ability to bore through wood, it doesn’t take a genius to surmise that she can be destructive to certain wooded areas. Female carpenter bees can cause significant damage to a foundation of a building or home. And this is not the only problem they stand to create. While the female isn’t particularly an aggressive bee species, she does possess the ability to sting and will do so if you get too close to her young.
In addition to this, there is also the growth of the larvae to worry about. As the grubs grow, they will exacerbate the size of the bored hole. If the bored hole is in a location exposed to the outdoor elements, it is possible that rain could get in. Once water gets in, it won’t take long before the wood rots literally from the inside out.
However, probably what is most troubling is the attraction of woodpeckers. Woodpeckers feed on the larvae and can smell them out. You don’t want a woodpecker further expanding the damage to the already bored hole. This is just asking for problems.