The adult carpenter bee is typically 1/2” to 1” long. Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, except that carpenter bees possess a bare and shiny abdomen. Male carpenter bees have a yellow spot on their face while females have a black face. Also, carpenter bees are not social insects, as such, they do not have colonies or hives.
Typically, the first indication of a carpenter bee problem is likely a small, perfectly round, dime size hole in wood decks, wood fences, and other weathered or unprotected wood around your home. Carpenter bee tunnels, known as galleries, are bored into wood about 1 inch deep and then the bee will turn at right angles to the initial hole and tunnel with the grain of the wood. Carpenter bee galleries on average are a depth of 4” to 6”, but some can extend up to 10’. If left untreated, these galleries can increase the rate of decay in the wood, weakening its structural integrity. The male carpenter bee is territorial and often becomes aggressive when approached. Yet, unable to sting, it primarily protects its territory by buzzing close to an intruder. A common behavior of the male is to hover a short distance from people causing unnecessary panic. The female however, is capable of stinging but seldom does.
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