The Great Bee Awakening

 In Blog

It’s springtime in Illinois, and bears aren’t the only ones waking up from winter hibernation. Carpenter bees also hibernate in winter and awaken in spring. The carpenter bee is an active pollinator that provides a beneficial service to agriculture, but it can be a nuisance when it bores multiple holes into important wooden structures. Although the bee doesn’t decimate wood as quickly as a termite or carpenter ant, it can cause significant cosmetic damage, and its nesting area noises may also attract hungry woodpeckers. Understanding this bee species can help you to better manage its impact on your property.

Life Cycle of Carpenter Bees

The entire life cycle of the carpenter bee lasts about one year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • From late spring into early summer, the bee lays eggs in its drilled-out, perfectly round wooden nests.
  • When eggs hatch, the young feed on pollen for one to two months.
  • After pupating into adults in late summer, the offspring spends the rest of the year gathering pollen.
  • As fall fades into winter, both genders will hibernate until the following spring using preexisting nests.
  • When spring arrives, they emerge to find fresh pollen and mate.

Meeting Carpenter Bees Face to Face: Males vs. Females

The male carpenter bee is different from the female in appearance and behavior. Males have a light-colored spot on their heads between their mandibles. Females don’t. You’re far more likely to meet a male in person. They appear to be aggressive; a male may hover nearby and dart at humans and other insects to protect his territory. The behavior can be intimidating, but don’t worry; he’s bluffing. Males don’t have a stinger. The female carpenter bee does have a stinger, but unless you handle her or provoke her directly, she’s not likely to use it. She spends most of her time flying in and out of nest holes, burrowing tunnels, laying eggs, tending to brood cells, and completely ignoring humans. The female bee wants nothing to do with you, but she loves your new deck.

Let Anderson Pest Solutions Help Protect Your Illinois Home

When you compare it to the devastation caused by other wood-boring insects, carpenter bee damage is mild and slow. One or two carpenter bee holes are no cause for concern, but cumulative damage can develop over several years. If you notice a large number of holes or tunnels in a wooden structure, it’s important to take proper pest control measures before the problem gets out of hand. At Anderson, we’ve been providing environmentally responsible pest control services for more than a century. We’ll manage your carpenter bee problem effectively while doing everything possible to maintain ecological balance. Contact us to schedule service or obtain more information.