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Carpenter Bee Control in Atlanta: Send in The Pro’s
Carpenter bees may seem like the ‘innocent insect’ but they can cause real damage for property owners.
Carpenter bee control in Atlanta starts with understanding just what these insects are and their differences in comparison to similar pests, such as wasps and hornets.
While carpenter bees might not be as serious as other insects (like carpenter ants and termites) they can still lead to severe problems to your property, including your wood decking and even areas of your home’s structure; leading to costly repairs.
This is why it’s important to educate yourself on their behavior, habits, and appearance in order to take the necessary steps to prevent or control these pests.
Carpenter Bee Characteristics
Within the US, carpenter bees are grouped in two genera – one being large carpenter bees (or Xylocopa) and the other, small carpenter bees (AKA Ceratina). Xylocopa is the species of carpenter bees that are most likely to make their presence (and the damage associated with their presence) known to property owners.
The most obvious characteristic that is used to separate these two genera is size Ceratina are less than 8 millimeters in length, while Xylocopa can be anywhere from 12 to 25 millimeters in length.
Xylocopa are similar in both appearance and size to bumble bees. This genera can be black, metallic blue, purplish blue, or greenish black in color.
While some xylocopa males might feature yellow sections of the face, both males and females have yellowish hairs on the thorax, abdomen, and legs, however, these hairs are not as numerous or as vibrant as they are on bumble bees.
On the other hand, during close inspection, you’ll notice that large carpenter bees can also appear much different than bumblebees, as they lack visible hairs on the top of the abdomen, giving the insect a somewhat glossy appearance.
Small carpenter bees are always dark in terms of color and have a somewhat metallic look, as well as scant body hairs. The majority of this species have some kind of yellow markings on the face and body.
Both genera of carpenter bees experience a complete metamorphosis – egg, larva (or grub), pupa (or cocoon), and finally, the adult stage. Known as solitary insects, carpenter bees avoid organizing into colonies.
Large Carpenter Bee Behavior, Diet & Habits
Despite what you may think, carpenter bees do not, in fact, eat wood, however, they do feed on plant nectar and pollen.
The reason why these insects are definite pests is due to the fact that they are notorious for excavating dry, unpainted and weathered wooden objects such as window sills, railings, roof eaves, decks, untreated poles, wooden lawn furniture, fences, and door.
Just one of the favorite items for a carpenter bee to excavate is the posts and rails of oak split rail fences. They also prefer cyprus, oak, redwood and pine, especially if the wood is not covered with bark and is unfinished or unpainted. Large carpenter bees will sometimes bore into painted wood, especially if the paint covering is weathered and old.
Gallery construction for a carpenter bee is a labor-intensive process, which takes an immense amount of energy and time. As a result, female carpenter bees will often prefer to inhabit existing nests as opposed to excavating new ones.
For more information on Xylocopa behavior, diet and habits, we suggest visiting BugGuide.net.
Check out the tweets below from Twitter users who have had enough of pesky Carpenter Bees:
So the roof of my apartment is infested with carpenter bees. They make the backyard suck. http://t.co/EEvEjMZE
Ceratina typically excavate stems and twigs in order to build their nests. Females overwinter as adults in completely or partially excavated stems, and during the spring, the female carpenter bee further excavates and creates a brood nest, similar to large carpenter bees.
Additionally, small carpenter bees provision their brood cells with nectar and pollen. A particularly intriguing characteristic of a number of species of Ceratina is that they can reproduce without the need of a male, a trait that is known as parthenogenesis.
For more information on Ceratina behavior, diet and habits, we suggest visiting BugGuide.Net.
Life Cycle of a Carpenter Bee
Carpenter bees have four known life stages. These include: egg, larval, pupal, and adult states.
It takes approximately seven weeks for a carpenter bee to fully reach adulthood, but developmental time may vary greatly depending on temperature and/or other environmental conditions.
While newly developed adults commonly remain in their galleries for several weeks, they will leave their brood cells in either April or May. Carpenter bees mate, feed on nectar and pollen, return to their gallery to hibernate and then finally emerge the following spring.
Signs of a Carpenter Bee Infestation
Carpenter bee infestations are easily identifiable. Property owners should watch for the following signs:
– The presence of entrance holes in wood
– The presence of sawdust on the ground (under where the hole has been drilled)
– The presence of a yellowish substance consisting of bee excrement and pollen near the entrance hole
– Bothersome flight activity (especially by male carpenter bees, who are the most protective of their territory, but do not sting)
What Makes Carpenter Bees Pests?
Carpenter bees are important pollinators and are very useful in providing this beneficial service to agriculture, fruit producers and plant growers.
With that being said, they can also become a nuisance and, in time, may actually cause structural damage as a result of their borehole and gallery excavations.
Nuisances or damage caused by carpenter bees includes:
– Unsightly property due to the presence of their excrement under their entrance hole
– Accumulations of sawdust from their excavations and borings
– Attraction of woodpeckers, who riddle wood with holes searching for the immature stages of carpenter bees (a main food source of these birds).
Carpenter bee prevention and treatment starts with a thorough search performed by your local Atlanta pest control professional, like People’s Pest Control.
During the inspection, your pest control technician should try to accurately identify the offending pest while locating the carpenter bee damage. Once this inspection has been completed, an effective and reasonable pest control plan should prepared.
The most popular control technique is to apply an insecticide dust on the outer rim of the carpenter bee’s drill holes, before leaving the holes open for a few days in order to allow returning bees to come into contact with the insecticide. Once the carpenter bees are eliminated, the drill holes can be sealed and then repainted.
Know The Difference: Carpenter bees are often confused for bumble bees given their similar size and appearance. Knowing the difference is key to preventing and controlling these pests.
Sometimes pest control technicians may also find it useful to apply an aerosol spray as a means for controlling free flying carpenter bees. Additionally, a temporarily effective method is to apply a liquid insecticide to the wood’s surface. This is a less time consuming process as opposed to applying dust to drill holes.
If you’re searching for a control method that does not use insecticides, you can opt to paint any bare, exposed wood surfaces that are being attacked with a polyurethane finish or exterior paint paint.
Your North Georgia pest control professional should also inspect for weathering, of which will make it likely for carpenter bees to attack and recommend that you seal existing bore holes in order to discourage carpenter bees that are searching for nesting sites.