Bumblebees and honeybees are fairly well known, but another kind of bee can prove a pest: the wood bee, or carpenter bee. These bees are known for boring tunnels in wood fencing, siding, and decking. As with most pests, the more you know about them, the easier time you'll have in dealing with them. Keep reading to discover five surprising and useful facts about these fuzzy, black-and-yellow wood chewers.
1. Wood Bees Don't Eat Wood
Wood bees are often classified along with termites as pests that cause wood damage. However, there is an important distinction between wood bees and termites. Termites eat wood, but wood bees just tunnel through the wood to build their nests. They do not consume the wood. For this reason, wood bee damage progresses a lot more slowly than damage caused by termites.
Wood bees are also solitary creatures. They don't live in large hives - which is another reason why the damage they cause progresses slowly. You don't have to worry about a fence collapsing a week after you discover bees nesting inside of it. You have plenty of time to deal with the infestation.
2. Wood Bees Hibernate All Winter
Young carpenter bees hatch and turn into adults in the late summer. As the weather cools off, they retreat to their nests inside the wood, where they stay in hibernation until springtime. If you need to do work on a fence or deck where wood bees live, do it during the winter so you don't disturb the bees.
3. Wood Bees Are Not Deterred By Surface Insecticides
Some homeowners spray their fences and decks with insecticides again and again through the summer in hopes that this will keep wood bees and other pests away. While this treatment may be helpful for deterring termites, it does little to ward off wood bees.
Because the bees do not eat wood, they don't usually get a lethal dose of insecticides when the insecticides are only applied to the surface. Plus, California's laws regarding insecticide use for bees are quite intricate. A better approach is to contact a pest control company and have them attempt to relocate the wood bees.
4. Wood Bees Are Valuable Pollinators
As annoying as wood bees may be, they do play an important role in natural ecosystems. They visit flowers to feed on nectar, and in the process, they move pollen from one flower to another, assisting in plant reproduction.
Because wood bees are valuable as pollinators, you do not want to kill them unless absolutely necessary. If you see wood bees in an old log, a stump, or a structure you no longer use, consider leaving them there. Only work to relocate or eradicate bees if they are nesting in a structure that is valuable to you and pose a danger to you.
5. Wood Bees Are Unlikely to Sting
Female wood bees are capable of stinging, but they are unlikely to do so. They are very peaceful creatures and will generally stay away from you unless you provoke them. Some people do get stung when poking their fingers into nests or attempting to swat at the wood bees, so avoid these behaviors. If you have kids, make sure you keep them away from any structures where wood bees are living so they don't stick their fingers in the holes.
If you have wooden structures on your home or property, you do need to be on the lookout for wood bees. Left unaddressed, their tunnels can weaken your wooden structures. Rest assured, however, that wood bees are much less of a threat than termites and are typically rather easy to deal with. Contact the experts at Cliff's Pest Control Inc. if you need help dealing with wooden bees in the Inland Empire area.