What should I do about carpenter bees around my home?
Large carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa
) are large, black and yellow bees that are seen in the spring through summer hovering around the eve of a house or other areas. They do not eat wood, but drill half-inch diameter holes in wood to make nests. Carpenter bees emerge in April or May to gather pollen and nectar to feed their brood, and male bees hover around the nest at this time. Males may act aggressive, flying into people who are close by; however, male carpenter bees do not have a stinger, and female bees rarely sting, unless provoked. Carpenter bees don’t cause serious structural damage to wood, unless large numbers of bees tunnel into wood over a period of many years. In addition, because carpenter bees are beneficial insects and help to pollinate many of the flowers and edible plants in home gardens, it is preferable to find a way to discourage them from nesting in a house or deck, without harming them. Carpenter bees prefer untreated, unfinished wood. Thus, susceptible exterior parts of a home should be constructed of hardwoods, or painted or varnished, so that they are less attractive to bees, according to the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources IPM (Integrated Pest Management) website
. For holes that already exist, the site suggests filling unoccupied holes with steel wool and caulk, and then painting or varnishing the surface, to prevent bees from reusing the holes.