Northwest Exterminating representatives get a lot of questions this time of year regarding carpenter bees in Atlanta. So we thought this information would be helpful to find out exactly what the buzz is on this type of bee. Carpenter bees get their name from their acts of boring themselves into wood to makehomes for raising their young. They are similar in looks to a bumble bee, only without the distinct yellow body markings that bumble bees have.

Carpenter bees live in nests or colonies during winter months and come out during spring to feed on nectar. During spring is when mating begins and continues into nest-construction months (the winter months). Unfortunately for us, they dont always go back to their old colonies and normally bore entirely new homes.

The female typically bores the holes in wood for a distance of her body length and then takes a right angle turn. A new gallery averages 4-6 but can be up to 10 feet if more than one bee lives there. This process is repeated until there are 5-6 linear cells, creating 1 cell per day. Although carpenter bees will nest in a large range of woods, they prefer weathered and/or unpainted wood.

Male carpenter bees can be territorial and become aggressive when approached. However, they have no stinger so it is all for show unlike the females that have a potent stinger that is rarely used.

To control carpenter bees, each gallery should be treated individually. Keep note that carpenter bees rarely make galleries in painted wood. They can be deterred by painting wood or applying an appropriate repellent to the wood.

Source: NPCA: Field Guide to Structural Pests