More buzz than sting, carpenter bees sound more ferocious than they are; but they can still do plenty of damage to your Monmouth County, New Jersey home. Often confused with bumble bees because of their similar size and coloring, carpenter bees are named for their unique ability to tunnel through wood.
Unique Tunneling Behavior
Unlike most bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects, living in mating pairs rather than social hives. These bees are most active in May and June when females tunnel into wood to lay their eggs. After excavating a long tunnel, females create brood cells, dividing eggs with partitions created from chewed wood. Each brood cell is provisioned with nectar to feed the growing grubs which will chew their way out of the nesting tunnel and emerge once their achieve adulthood. Watch this video to see inside a nesting tunnel.
Watch Out for Kamikaze Bees
When carpenter bees attack Ocean County, NJ homes, they announce their presence with a loud drill-like buzzing. Circular, 1/2-inch diameter holes mark entries to nesting tunnels. Stingerless males can be quite aggressive, dive bombing anyone who comes near the nest site. While the males can’t hurt you, their forceful attacks can cause people and pets to panic. Females do sting but are usually docile unless directly attacked.
Tunneling Creates Building Damage
Carpenter bees prefer dry, soft woods such as cedar, cypress, fir, pine and redwood and may tunnel into wooden porches, siding, deck rails, fascia, sheds and outdoor furniture. Because carpenter bees tend to stay close to their nests and frequently reuse nesting tunnels, failure to eliminate a carpenter bee problem can lead to serious damage over time as tunnels are extended and successive generations inhabit the same area.