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Spring is finally here in Illinois, and bears aren’t the only animals waking up from their winter hibernation. Carpenter bees also rest through the winter to gear up for an active spring. Although they play an important role in their local environments by pollinating flowers and other plants, carpenter bees can be quite a nuisance.

These bees are known for drilling holes into wooden structures in our houses to create a safe haven for their eggs. The holes that they bore won’t compromise the structural makeup of your home, but they can cause lots of cosmetic damage and possibly attract hungry woodpeckers. Learning about carpenter bees and their habits will help you better manage their impact on your property.

Carpenter Bee Life Cycle

The life of a carpenter bee lasts for about a year. Its life cycle is broken into four stages:

  1. Egg: A female carpenter bee will drill a precise tunnel a few inches deep into a suitable wooden structure. She lays her eggs in individually slotted compartments that she creates, depositing a mixture of pollen and nectar into each.
  2. Larva: After a few days, the eggs hatch, and begin their larval stage. They remain in their cells, eating the food that their mother provided for them.
  3. Pupa: After getting enough nutrients to prepare for their metamorphosis, the larvae become dormant pupae. They remain inside the wood structure, secure in their cozy cells.
  4. Adult: Several weeks later, the adult carpenter bee is ready to start its new journey. They will leave their nest and begin a solitary life pollinating plants.

Carpenter bees return to their old nests or find an abandoned one to hibernate in during the winter. They will mate the following spring and die shortly after.

What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?

Carpenter bees range from 1/2″ to 1″ in length. They have shiny, black abdomen and a yellow thorax. You can find them flying around roofs, windowsills, and other wooden structures in your home.

Male and female carpenter bees are most easily told apart by their appearance and behavior. Here are a few ways to differentiate between them:

  • They look very similar in appearance from afar, but males have white markings on their heads, while females have a plain black head. Males also lack a stinger, which means that you are only in danger of being stung by a female.
  • That being said, males are the more aggressive carpenter bees. They will hover around potential threats to their territory, charging and darting at their targets, but they are unable to do any harm. 
  • Female carpenter bees spend most of their time up around their tunnels, tending to their eggs. They will only sting when they or their nest are seriously threatened, so if you swat at one, step on one, or tamper with their tunnels, you might be stung.

Carpenter Bee Treatment in Illinois

If you think you have a carpenter bee problem at your house in the Chicago IL area, reaching out to a local pest control company is your best bet to alleviate the issue. Although they don’t cause structural damage, carpenter bees can be annoying and leave tons of tiny holes all over your home. Our bee removal specialists at Anderson Pest Solutions are have been trained to the latest standards of environmentally responsible pest control and will remove the bees from your property without damaging your home or using harmful chemicals. Reach out today for a free quote!

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Carpenter bee pollinating a flower in Illinois - Anderson Pest Solutions