Carpenter Bees

Credit: - F.E. Woods

Carpenter Bees are large insects that build nests in deadwood, bamboo, and wooden structures. These bees make a single hole, then excavate galleries in the wood to build nests. Repeated infestation over time can cause extensive damage as the galleries enlarge. Carpenter bees chew their way through the wood but don’t eat the material. These bees feed on pollen and are important pollinators of many trees, shrubs, and flowers. Carpenter bees are also very important recyclers of dead trees in the forest. The female carpenter bee has a black face and a stinger; she spends most of her time in the nest. The male bee has a yellow face and does not possess a stinger. The male spends most of his time flying outside the nest; they will approach intruders due to their curious nature or to protect their nest. The ungainly flight patterns make it appear that the bee is dive-bombing the intruder. Keeping wood structures well-painted with oil or polyurethane-based paint or sealant will repel most bees. Plugging holes with wood putty or other fillers is another way to combat them. Finally, there are a number of insecticides that can be used once the barrier methods are no longer effective. Keeping a good protective base coat is the most effective way to prevent attacks. Despite their damage, these bees are an important part of our ecosystems, helping to pollinate plants and speed up decay of dead wood in the forest.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature Notes for 8/15/2010