Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous & Other FAQs

Carpenter bees are not a new problem; starting every spring they drill perfectly round holes in fences, decks, siding, and other untreated or weathered wood in Essex Fells, Paramus, and throughout New Jersey. Even though they are a returning pest, we receive many inquiries about this type of bee every year and so we thought, why not answer some of the more frequently asked questions about carpenter bees in New Jersey.  

carpenter bee damage to a fence outside a bergen county nj home

Are carpenter bees dangerous?

Since this is the title of our blog post, let’s start by answering the question “are carpenter bees dangerous?”. As is the case with most stinging insects in New Jersey, carpenter bees are capable of stinging. For accuracy’s sake, we’ll need to clarify this last point. In reality, only female carpenter bees inflict stings but only do so if directly provoked. Males, on the other hand, are all bark and no bite in a manner of speaking. Though they cannot sting, they will get in your face and exhibit an aggressive nature but lacking a stinger, they are basically harmless. 

Jumping back to the bee sting – if stung you might notice a sharp pain or burning sensation at the site and it may radiate outwards. If you’re allergic to bees, you should be on the lookout for symptoms indicating anaphylaxis and seek medical treatment if you are experiencing trouble such as difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue, and dizziness.

Why so many carpenter bees?

If it seems like the carpenter bee population is exploding, there’s a good chance it is because it does every spring when male and female carpenter bees leave their winter nests in order to pair up and mate. Once that happens, female carpenter bees will start boring holes that lead to tunnels that run several inches long. At the end of each tunnel, females will create cavities where they deposit their eggs. Eggs become larvae and the larvae will remain in those chambers until they emerge as adults later in the summer. 

Are carpenter bees seasonal?

As we previously mentioned, carpenter bees start showing up in early spring and are active in New Jersey throughout the summer months until about September or October. When it becomes too cold for them to survive, they will overwinter in their nests only to return once spring arrives again. 

Do carpenter bees damage homes and other structures?

Yes, carpenter bee activity left untreated can result in damage to homes including but not limited to trusses, overhangs, and decks. Carpenter bees will also attack fences and other wood surfaces. Though they prefer softwood and weathered softwood at that, they may nest in treated and/or painted wood. Because carpenter bees are capable of inflicting damage, they are considered wood-destroying insects

Do carpenter bees eat wood?

Unlike termites in New Jersey that actually consume the wood they infest, carpenter bees only drill into wood to facilitate their reproduction efforts. They’re like carpenter ants in that respect.

How do I know if I have carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees look very similar to bumble bees but one important distinction is the former are solitary bees and the latter are social bees. Where carpenter bees drill holes for their own use, bumble bees exist in hives that contain many members.

Another way to tell if you have a carpenter bee problem on your property is by the sawdust that falls to the ground below their holes. You might also notice yellowing which is a combination of pollen and bee excrement. 

Finally, you might notice woodpeckers showing up in areas where carpenter bees drill holes and that’s because they love to eat carpenter bee larvae. We should note that damage started by carpenter bees will get worse when woodpeckers show up. 

What is the best way to get rid of carpenter bees?

Before we answer this final question, let’s first touch on prevention. If you want to preserve your home, deck, fence line, and other wood surfaces, we highly recommend treating any bare wood. That’s easily accomplished by painting or staining. 

To resolve a carpenter bee problem already in progress, please reach out to Arrow Pest Control. Offering stinging insect control in Bergen and Essex counties as well as in several other New Jersey counties, our locally owned and family-operated pest control company is well-versed in carpenter bee control and ready to take these wood-destroying pests on! Reach out today to learn more about our pest control services or to schedule your free evaluation.

Joe F.

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‟I used Arrow Pest Control for the first time today and I was totally satisfied, I reached out to them on Sunday and spoke to Beatrice and she set me up an appointment for Monday morn for an estimate and Monday afternoon the technician came and serviced my house.....I wish I could have gave them 10 stars, very helpful, right to the point, very professional, on time and no games.....I highly recommend arrow pest control in Morganville.......thank you J.F.”
Joe F.
Matawan, NJ
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