Carpenter bees are beneficial pollinators but also can do damage to the wood on houses and structures. During May, Females drill into the wood to lay eggs that will later emerge. Females do return to last years’ galleries so it’s good to wait until fall or winter when they are not active and then plug the holes.
As a preventative measure, we can treat the wood parts of a house like siding, eaves, door frames, etc. When the carpenter bee lands on treated areas, she will receive a lethal dose and be gone in 1-3 days. There is nothing we can do to prevent more bees from trying to drill into the wood or hovering near the wood, but if they do land in the treated areas, they will die.
Carpenter Bee Side View (NPMA)
Later in June, the eggs will emerge from the holes and leave the area to forage and pollinate. After all, bees are beneficial. Our goal is to simply to protect homes and property from damage. We want the bees to thrive in their natural habitat.
It’s good to know that carpenter bees rarely sting. Males don’t even have stingers. Females will only sting if threatened. You can identify a carpenter bee by it’s smooth, shiny abdomen. Bumble bees have hairs the full length of their body but carpenter bees only have hairs on the head (not the abdomen.)