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Carpenter Bee Prevention In South Texas

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Carpenter bees look very similarly to bumble bees, but lack the hairy abdomen that can be seen on bumble bees. Carpenter bees range between .5 and 1.5 inches in length and the females are black and shiny while the males are shiny, but can be black and orange. These wood damaging stinging insects are not known for building typical nests or hives; their nests are burrowed into wooden timbers or beams and they can cause structural damage to buildings.  Because of their tendency to bore into wood, carpenter bees can cause problems for South Texas homeowners, but not necessarily for the reasons you might expect! 

Although carpenter bees bore holes into wooden timbers, their nests are relatively small and damage caused by the bees themselves isn’t usually very extensive. The females bore a few holes into the wood and then bore out more wood to make room for the eggs they lay. The area they bore into the wood is usually shaped like a T and often occurs in wood that has had previous water damage. The females do the burrowing into the wood while the males hover around the entrance to the nest, acting aggressively towards other insects and even humans that may come near. Although carpenter bees cause damage to wood, some homeowners don’t mind their presence, as they are important pollinators, especially in the spring. Although carpenter bees are stinging insects and female carpenter bees do possess a stinger, they will rarely sting, which means they pose little threat to humans. The biggest threat that comes with having carpenter bees boring holes into a structure is when they repeat their burrowing behavior in the same spot (or just a few feet away) every year, adding to previous years’ damage. The presence of carpenter bee larvae inside a structure can also attract wood boring birds like woodpeckers. When woodpeckers see carpenter bee activity, they will visit the burrowed nest, causing more damage with their powerful beaks as they seek out the carpenter bee larvae that are inside. The damage that can be caused once the carpenter bee nest is discovered by woodpeckers can become extensive, costing hundreds of dollars to repair. 

In order to avoid a carpenter bee problem in the first place, you must protect the wood of your property. When wood goes unfinished or unpainted, it can easily be damaged by wind and rain. Previously damaged wood is especially attractive to carpenter bees, as it is easier to bore into. To protect your home, finish or paint wood on the exterior of your property. Re-finish or repaint every year or two, making sure there are no areas of the wood that are unprotected or exposed to the elements. Cover any exposed beams with a hardwire mesh or heavy duty plastic caps; when wood is protected, carpenter bees won’t be attracted to it. Carpenter bees are also attracted to softer woods, so building with hardwood in the first place can help eliminate possible carpenter bee problems in the future. 

If you suspect a carpenter bee problem inside your home, this is not something you should attempt to exterminate on your own. Since the carpenter bee larvae are present inside the wood, any DIY products you may find may only eliminate the problem at the surface; a pest control professional can help eliminate all the larvae inside the nest, even the ones deep into the wooden timber. The presence of carpenter bees on your property shouldn’t be cause for alarm; these insects can be useful in the pollination of flowers and plants on your property. They do, however, become a problem when their damages become extensive or they start attracting even more damaging animals to your property. 

Carpenter bees in Texas can be eliminated with one quick call to the Houston pest control specialists at Holder’s Pest Solutions.  Offering South Texas pest control since 1947, Holder’s can control stinging insects on your property as well as other pests that may be posing problems. Contact Holder’s Pest Solutions today for your first inspection.