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Home >> Departments/Offices >> Cooperative Extension >> Pest of the Month >> March



Many homeowners have found the telltale signs of the carpenter bee - nickle sized holes in their shutters and siding.

The insect: Carpenter bees are large with a shiny black abdomen and yellow thorax. They are not bumblebees. Bumblebees do not eat wood. The male is an intimidator; He cannot sting, but he will fly right up to your face. The female can sting, but normally won't unless touched.

Carpenter bees drill wood, creating a near-perfect hole (sawdust underneath). They chew the wood 1/2 inch deep and turn at a right angle, chewing for about six inches. The female lays a series of eggs in the tunnel and makes pollen "bee bread" for her larvae.

Nesting in the same area can cause extensive damage. Control is not easy. Painted wood is less likely to be attacked. Spray wood being attacked with carbaryl according to label directions.

Puffing a carbaryl dust into the hole best treats tunnels. Plug holes with wood putty. Treatment will need to be repeated.