Frequently Asked Questions About Carpenter Bees

What are carpenter bees?

As you might have guessed, carpenter bees are, in fact, bees just like honey and bumblebees; unlike them, however, carpenter bees are solitary. They don't have a hive, and they don't have a queen. What they do have is the ability to bore deep holes into wood where they lay their eggs. Carpenter bees are solitary nesters, but it is not uncommon for a large number of them to nest in the same spot. Suitable wood is suitable wood, after all. 

Are carpenter bees dangerous?

As a general rule, carpenter bees are not dangerous. Like most other solitary bees and wasps, carpenter bees don't swarm at the slightest perception of a threat the way that yellow jackets will. 

While carpenter bees are not aggressive and tolerate much more provocation than other stinging insect species in the western suburbs of Chicago, they can and will sting. Stings usually occur if you grab or bump into them, making them feel mortally threatened. 

Carpenter bee stings are typically not dangerous. Like with any other bee sting, you may experience pain and swelling. The only exception to this rule is if you are allergic to insect venom. If you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis, get medical help right away. 

Why do I have a carpenter bee problem?

Carpenter bees look for wood that is convenient to nest in. Treated or painted wood is usually harder to bore into than water-damaged or rotting wood. So the thing that will attract carpenter bees the most is unmaintained wood around your home or business in the greater Chicago area, like a shed with peeling paint, rotten deck railing, or any other wood in your home that is not hard and dry and treated with an insect deterrent. 

Where will I find carpenter bees?

If you've got untreated or damaged wood around your property, this is where carpenter bees are likely to be. Typically, they like to nest in decking, railing, wood ceilings like the kind you would find on porches, and wooden walls like those found in sheds. 

It's quite common for more than one carpenter bee to decide that the same piece of wood is suitable to nest. So there's a very good chance that if you have one carpenter bee setting up shop in an area, you'll soon have others. Carpenter bees dig fairly deep holes. And while one carpenter bee nest will not do more than put an unsightly hole in your home, a more serious carpenter bee infestation can threaten wood's structural integrity. 

How do I get rid of carpenter bees?

The best carpenter bee deterrent is to ensure that all the wooden components of your home are hard and dry and treated with weatherproofing or paint. This treatment makes the wood very difficult to bore into and encourages the bees to move on to wood that is easier to nest inside. 

Other ways to deter these fat, shiny bees include:

  • Hang a decoy wasp nest to scare them.
  • Spray scents they find stinky, such as citrus oil or mint oil, around the wooden components of your home. 
  • Fill abandoned holes so new bees don't nest in them. 

Taking these measures can help shore up your bee prevention efforts, but they are no substitute for ensuring that the wood around your home is tough and sturdy. 

How can I prevent carpenter bees in the future?

If you do end up with a carpenter bee infestation, don't try to get rid of them on your own. Not only can these bees sting, but it's also very easy for you to miss nests or fail to fix the issues drawing them in. We can take care of all that here at EcoGuard Pest Control. Our bee control services for your Western Chicago property can ensure that you never have to deal with these annoying and destructive little buzzing insects again.