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Bees are social insects closely related to wasps, but have adapted to collecting and storing pollen and nectar for food and society development. In most cases, they pose no threat to man and because their daily activities greatly enhance plant pollination, they are rarely considered a pest.
Some social bees have a substantial colony consisting of one queen, workers and drones. Their numbers can run in excess of 40,000 members, and a single colonies can remain viable for many years. Most types of bees, however, have a less significant number of social members that regenerate seasonally.
Our local domestic honeybee is under great ecological stress, and can in no way be chemically eliminated. Removal must be done by mechanical methods, taking every care to protect the colony from harm.
Carpenter Bees visually resemble Bumble bees in size and appearance. Once they have found an area to inhabit their numbers increase dramatically. They are solitary bees, but prefer to nest in close proximity to each other. In the springtime, they will begin to chew and drill into the wood creating roughly 1/2 inch round holes. In general, they travel 8 to 10 inches inside the wood, traveling with the grain. Depending on location the noise can be heard from the chewing into the wood. In most cases, the chewed shavings can pile up below the area of activity. The purpose of the galleries is to provide nesting area for their “brood” (eggs, young).
What You Should Know
Preferring untreated or unpainted wood, roof eaves, fascia, soffit, or porch railings. Generally, they prefer wood that is more than an inch thick.
Bee Fact: Carpenter Bees do “hibernate” within the drilled holes during the winter months. Upon spring arrival, they clean and expand tunneling chambers for their new batch of eggs.
Although they seem common, honeybees are not the most prevalent bees seen around the garden. Honeybees have come under great colony stress from unknown environmental conditions lately, and their numbers are down dramatically. The most commonly seen bees are now the bumblebee and carpenter bee.
Any flowering plant could be a potential problem; if this raises concerns, flowering plants should be kept away from areas where you might spend a lot of time outdoors. For the most part, however, bees are docile – they rarely pose any health hazards if left to themselves.
There are a great variety of bees – all have their favorite places to erect nests. Carpenter bees like wood trim, honey bees require deep voids in protected areas to house their many thousands of workers. If there are concerns, an inspection should be scheduled to determine possible nesting areas.