- Color: yellow and black.
- Size: 1/2 to 1 inch.
- They look like bumble bees except that they have a bare (i.e., no hairs), shiny black abdomen compared to bumble bees which have a hairy abdomen with some yellow markings.
Habits of Carpenter Bees:
- Adults overwinter in galleries, emerging in the spring in order to mate.
- Females prepare nests by excavating new sites or, more frequently, by cleaning out and expanding existing tunnels.
- Six to eight brood cells are constructed in each tunnel.
- Bee larvae develop during the summer emerging, usually in late summer, as adults 30 to 40 days later.
- There is one generation per year.
Damage From Bees:
- Carpenter bees bore holes into wood from 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter; the hole initially is about six inches long but in subsequent years might be extended to more than ten feet.
- Male carpenter bees are aggressive but quite harmless since they lack stingers.
- Females sting if molested.
- Entry holes in well-lit and sheltered areas, e.g., headers, roof eaves, porch ceilings, fascia boards, decks, doors, and window sills.
- Soft wood, e.g., California redwood, cedar, white pine, and poplar, is preferred for building nests.
How to Control Bees:
- Infested lumber should be removed and replaced with preservative-treated wood.
- Wood should be painted or varnished in order to discourage bees from boring into it.