The most common type of bee found in the eastern United States is the carpenter bee. They are found mostly in eastern states, but have found their way westward toward Kansas and Texas. These bees look very similar to bumble bees, but have an abdomen that is shiny and bare. We all know the biggest fear with bees is whether or not they sting. . The female carpenter bee does have a stinger that she will rarely use while the males can only try to intimidate other creatures because they have no stinger. However, with carpenter bees, that is not the only worry. These are largely-despised pests to homeowners in North Carolina because these bees can bore holes into wooden structures.
Have you ever seen little holes that look almost as if someone had taken a drill to it? They can be almost perfectly round holes that are a few inches deep. Carpenter bees drill these holes into wood to nest. However, they rarely stay in these nests. These holes will be found in all types of wooden structures and plants. In fact, different types of carpenter bees actually prefer specific types of wood.
“Females of the carpenter bee will nest in a wide range of woods, but prefer weathered and unpainted wood. Valley carpenter bees prefer partially decayed live oak, deciduous oak, eucalyptus, and other hardwoods. The California carpenter bee nests in incense cedar and redwoods. The Mountain carpenter bee is recorded as nesting in structural timbers.” (NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests)
These bees cause major damage to outdoor furniture and patios. Though they are usually not found inside the holes, they will sometimes nest in these holes to rear their young. They will usually nest during the colder months, and newer holes are found typically within the spring/summer months and cause quite a bit of havoc on homes.
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- Smith, Eric H., and Richard C. Whitman. NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests. Second ed., NPMA, 2007.