How Are Carpenter Bees Different?

What carpenter bees look like in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Painful stings are the first thing that comes to mind for many people when bees are brought up. Not all bees are out to hurt us, though—many species of bees are quite gentle and are too busy pollinating plants to bother us. One downside to their help beautifying our yards is that they have to make their home somewhere. Some bees nest in the ground or build hives in trees, but carpenter bees prefer to drill holes in the wooden structures of our houses. So, how can you tell if you have carpenter bees?

What Do Carpenter Bees Look Like?

Carpenter bees might be tricky to differentiate from honey bees and bumblebees at first, but with a little practice, you will be able to tell the difference. Here are three physical signs that the bees around your home are carpenter bees:

  1. Carpenter bees are larger than other bees. They can be anywhere from 1/2” to 1” long.
  2. Their abdomen is shiny and hairless, as opposed to the fuzzy bumblebee. It is also stark black, not yellow and black like a honey bee.
  3. You will often see them flying around up higher, around the roofing or awnings of your home. Bumblebees and honey bees are usually lower to the ground, closer to the flowers.

One tricky thing about identifying carpenter bees is that they are pollinators, too. They will also be found in your flower beds. It’s important to keep other indicators in mind.

What Do Carpenter Bees Do?

Instead of building hives with hundreds of bees, the more solitary carpenter bees prefer to bore holes into softwood. The female carpenter bee will lay her eggs in small pockets dug out in her tunnel and guard the area fiercely. In fact, the only time carpenter bees display aggressive behavior is when they believe that their young could be in danger.

Carpenter bees will create tunnels in any wood that they find suitable, so any wooden surface on the exterior of your home could be liable for carpenter bee tunneling. Their holes are very small, just big enough for the bee to get through, and almost look as precise as if they were drilled. Since the bees don’t actually eat the wood, you’ll likely find little piles of sawdust and pollen where carpenter bees have bored.

How Do You Get Rid of Carpenter Bees?

Luckily, carpenter bees don’t cause structural damage to homes very easily. If you let your carpenter bee population grow out of control, though, you might fear for the safety of your wooden structures. If you need your carpenter bees safely removed from your house, call your local pest control company. The bee removal experts at Russell’s Pest Control are trained to use the most humane and efficient methods available to remove bees, wasps, and hornets all around Knoxville TN. If you need stinging insects removed today, contact us for a free quote!

When Do Carpenter Bees Become Active?

Carpenter bee activity in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Just like other species of insects and animals, carpenter bees become active again once the majority of the winter season is over, the weather begins to warm slightly, and the spring season is just around the corner. In Knoxville TN, this is usually anywhere between mid-February and April. Carpenter bees aren’t just a nuisance, as they can cause a lot of problems with their wood-boring habits. The team at Russell’s Pest Control is committed to keeping you safe from the dangers of pests year-round, carpenter bees included. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about carpenter bees near your Tennessee property.

Dangers of Carpenter Bees in Knoxville TN

When it comes to carpenter bees, they tend to be more damaging to property than they are a danger to people. Here’s what to know:

  1. Only the female has the ability to sting, but the females are typically pretty docile and they rarely sting on purpose. It is still important to remember that if you are ever stung by a carpenter bee, you should take the same precautions as you would with any other bee sting, especially if you are allergic to their venom.
  2. Even though these stinging insects are not particularly dangerous, they are very damaging. In fact, the damages that carpenter bees can cause can become quite extensive and expensive to repair if they are allowed to continue nesting on your property.
  3. Carpenter bees create perfectly round holes that are about ¼ of an inch in diameter; once inside the wood they make a turn a create tunnels along the grain of the wood to lay their eggs in. Carpenter bees are solitary, but it is very typical for several females to choose the same area or even the same piece of wood to nest inside of. Over time, this damage can worsen.

Signs of Carpenter Bee Activity

If carpenter bees have decided to take up residence on your property, you will notice large bumblebee-like insects that are black in color flying around your property under or around wooden structures. If carpenter bees are nesting on your property you will probably also begin to notice dime-sized holes in wooden outdoor furniture, eaves, wooden trim, wood shingles, and wooden play structures. Another seemingly strange sign of a carpenter bee infestation on your Knoxville property is noticing an increase of woodpeckers. Woodpeckers love to dine on the larvae and eggs of carpenter bees, they are attracted to the nest from the sounds that the larvae make and will peck at the nest entrance hole in order to enlarge it and gain access to bees inside. Needless to say, this causes even more damages to the structure that is housing the carpenter bee nest.

How to Prevent Carpenter Bee Problems

Preventing carpenter bees from choosing your property to invade can be a difficult task, but there are a couple of easy ways that you can deter them from choosing your Knoxville home or property to nest on.

  1. First, inspect the exterior of your home and any wood wooden structures located on your property. Any holes found should be filled in with a quality wood filler. Holes found in wooden structures have the potential to attract adult carpenter bees that are looking for a place to nest.
  2. Varnish, stain or paint any wooden structures on your property to help prevent them from becoming water damaged. Carpenter bees are highly attracted to water-damaged wood.

Need Help With Carpenter Bees?

Since it is almost that time of year again when carpenter bees are going to once again become active, now is the time to safeguard your property. When you work with Russell’s, our bee control experts will come to your property, identify any problem areas, and put into place a plan of action to protect your home and property from being further damaged by these rogue carpenters. Contact us today to learn more!

Carpenter Bees Still A Threat To East Tennessee Homes

Carpenter Bees Still A Threat To East Tennessee Homes

When we think of bees, or just insects in general, it’s no surprise that we think about the warmer spring and summer weather. That’s because most insects don’t survive through the fall and winter months. Bees, in particular, will gather within their hives to hibernate while they wait for spring to turn up again. Carpenter bees shouldn’t be any different, right? Well, while these problematic pests are similar to other insects in the fact that they prefer to avoid the winter weather, the fact is, here in Tennessee, our weather tends to stay warm well into early fall. This means that these fuzzy black bees will continue to do their work until the temperature actually starts dropping.

Carpenter bees look similar to their bumblebee cousins, who never really bother anybody. Often, this means that homeowners don’t realize they have a problem until the damage becomes extensive. You may see what looks like a bumblebee buzzing around the exterior of your home and don’t really think much of it because a bumblebee will do no damage to your home. Unfortunately, carpenter bees cause a lot of damage, especially if they choose to build their nests in the structure of your home.

Of course, one carpenter bee won’t cause much of a problem. It’s when carpenter bees continue to come back and lengthen those tunnels that they start becoming an issue. Additionally, carpenter bees will visit year after year to nest, continuing to drill deeper into the soft wood of your home to create structural damage within. Warping, bending, and breaking of wooden structures is not uncommon for homes where carpenter bees have invaded. Wooden staircases, railings, and roofing are all in danger of being bored into and damaged. Carpenter bee larvae even draw woodpeckers to your home, which can create even more damage if left unchecked.

There are several ways to help prevent carpenter bees from deciding your home is a good nesting site, ranging from eliminating moisture to closing holes you find in the exterior of your home with a professional grade wood filler. However, if you’re already experiencing problems with carpenter bees, professional pest control is always the safest and quickest way to rid your home of these insects. DIY methods of removal can often result in failed efforts and wasted money, but at Russell’s Pest Control, we promise to protect your home and eliminate carpenter bees living inside. Our pest control experts will come to your home, identify any pest problems you have, and provide you with a plan to keep your home and family safe from damage and harm. Contact Russell’s Pest Control today to request your free estimate.

Carpenter Bees Will Be Active Soon

Carpenter Bees Will Be Active Soon

When spring temperatures warm up, all the creatures in Tennessee will become active again. Some of them will just crawl around in your backyard, dig tiny tunnels under your lawn, and hide under your rocks (and only be a nuisance every once in awhile when heavy rains make the ground saturated, or extended days of drought make the ground too dry.) Some will build nests on eaves and overhangs and leave painful welts on the skin when we accidentally come in contact with them. Some are wood-destroying pests that will damage our homes. There are many ways bugs can become pests. Of the three we’ve mentioned, what kind of pest do you think carpenter bees are?

If you said that these insects leave painful welts on the skin, you would be half right, because only female carpenter bees are able to sting. Male carpenter bees, though sometimes aggressive, are not able to sting. All of the dive bombing and excessive buzzing is just posturing, they can’t actually hurt you. Females, on the other hand, can give you a painful welt, or worse if you have an allergy to her venom. But a female carpenter bee doesn’t want to sting you. Her focus is on building a nest and making babies. That is how she has earned her pest status.

Female carpenter bees chew tunnels in wood to make their nests. While these tunnels aren’t all that extensive at first, they can grow quite a bit over the course of several years. These bees are prone to using and extending existing tunnels. When they do, these tunnels can cause quite a bit of damage.

Tunnels made by carpenter bees can be frustrating to repair because it is hard to know how much tunneling is present just beyond the tiny circular hole they leave in the wood they are attacking. If these tunnels are being created in a sensitive area, like a stair leading up to a balcony, a railing, or a support beam, serious injury could result if the damage isn’t properly addressed.

If you have carpenter bees appearing on your property this year, it is important to have a professional pest control technician take a look at your issue and give you some actionable input on how to protect your home. Identification of carpenter bees is quite easy. They look like a big bumblebee with an entirely black abdomen.

Don’t let carpenter bees damage your property and cause the potential for injury. This is an issue you should address when it first appears.

Carpenter Bee Maintenance: Winter Work For A Spring Problem

Because East Tennessee season changes are so unpredictable, it’s probably a good time to address any cold weather maintenance projects now before the spring sun wakes up the hibernating insect population. With that in mind, let’s revisit carpenter bees and discuss what you could be doing to prepare for them now even though they may not emerge for a few weeks.

You remember carpenter bees, right? They’re the large, loud bees that like to hover near your head when you’re enjoying the spring sunshine. Homeowners will often encounter carpenter bees on their decks. This is because carpenter bees are wood-dwellers, so they probably have nests in the deck, or the porch rails, or the wooden siding. It is quite unusual for carpenter bees to sting, but they’re still unpleasant and potentially damaging companions.

Although carpenter bees are not considered as destructive as termites, they can really do a number on your wooden structures. You may only see a few holes (although a badly infested location may have dozens of holes), but the nests behind those entrances can easily go on for over ten feet through your board or plank! Taking care of these creatures early can save you a lot of grief later when you have to treat for the bees and replace the wood that they destroyed.

What you may not realize is that carpenter bees are practical creatures, so they often re-use and expand the nests that they were born in when making plans for their own offspring. This means that if you had carpenter bee holes last year, they’re probably occupied right now by adult bees that are hibernating for the winter. You can recognize one of these holes because it will be fairly large and almost perfectly round, and it probably will have a small pile of saw dust nearby since carpenter bees eject the wood that they chew instead of eating it like termites do.

If you know where the holes are, you can try to take care of your carpenter bee problem before it starts all over again. Using a spray that is labeled for carpenter bees in their holes ensures that the bees will come in contact with pesticide when they try to emerge. Please note that an on-the-spot product that you would normally use to knock down a nest of active wasps won’t work here; you need something that leaves a residue behind, not something that kills on contact and then immediately fades.

But, if you really want to create trouble for them, you should get some wood putty and block up the holes after treating them. Then, you’ve sealed the bees in with the product, and they are much less likely to successfully emerge. After blocking up the holes, put a couple layers of paint or sealer on the wood. While this won’t guarantee that other carpenter bees won’t use that nesting site, it is a deterrent to them.

It’s always possible that treating individual carpenter bee holes is not up your alley, and we at Russell’s Pest Control perfectly understand that feeling. Rather than fussing with finding an over-the-counter product that’s labeled for carpenter bees, you may want to call in the professionals. We can conduct a free inspection to evaluate the problem, treat as needed to get the population under control, and give you personalized advice about what to do to keep the carpenter bees at bay in the future.

Carpenter Bee Identification

Knoxville, Maryville, Lenoir City, and many other parts of the greater Knoxville area took a beating from the recent storms. Our thoughts are with our neighbors, and we hope that the cleanup work is coming along. We thought that, since many people are doing work around their houses, our readers might appreciate information about a pest that can be treated with some simple home repair work. Today, let’s look at carpenter bees.

Carpenter bees are very large, and they have the unpleasant habit of hovering near their nest sites and chasing anyone who comes too close. You probably started to notice them zinging by your head in mid-March when the weather started to warm up. Still, they are rarely aggressive and will only sting if threatened. Unlike their bumble bee cousins, carpenter bees are not hive creatures. They build solitary nests by drilling through wood and creating a cavity in which eggs and larvae are protected. These bees do not eat the wood as termites do, so a common indicator of carpenter bees is small piles of sawdust on your back deck or on the porch below your wood siding.

If you want to treat for carpenter bees, here are some tips to consider. Using an over-the-counter product in the holes is a start, but it won’t eliminate your problem. If possible, use a flashlight and treat the holes at night when the bees are inactive. If that idea is not practical in your case, bring a spray can with a product that you can use to knock down and kill the adults so you don’t get stung while you work (I have a friend who uses a wiffle ball bat for this portion of the work, but I don’t recommend it). Then, use a product that leaves a residue in the holes so that your treatment lasts longer. Remember, most of the spray cans for bees and wasps are only for immediate contact use; they will kill a bee that you spray but will not leave lasting protection against the bees. Many over-the-counter products are labeled to last up to three months, and you’d be better off trying one of those in the holes. Always use products that are labeled for the pests you’re treating, and only use them in ways that the label allows. Also, remember to position yourself carefully if you’re treating high places; you don’t want the product that you use to fall back down on you while you work.

Treat the holes in early spring and again in summer to make sure you’ve contacted all the bees with the product. Then, in the fall, fill the holes with wood putty. The bees won’t want to chew through the putty and will not be able to re-use the same holes. Finally, if you are doing some home repairs in the coming weeks, we recommend that you put a coat of paint or varnish on the affected wood. Pressure-treated wood is still vulnerable to carpenter bee attack, but a coat of paint will frustrate a bee’s chewing efforts and may make it think twice about sharing living space with you.

We get many calls about carpenter bees because they can be tough to treat. Their nests are often hard to reach, so many homeowner’s don’t want to deal with the trouble. At Russell’s Pest Control, carpenter bee treatments are done with a large sprayer or blower that can more easily reach the affected areas to alleviate the problem. Sound like a service you could use? You know where to find us, and you can always call us for more information.