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Southern New Jersey Carpenter Bee’s Doing Damage Behind the Scenes

As carpenter bee season is fully upon us we wanted to take a look at that is really going on inside those perfectly round carpenter bee holes….

After a thorough hunt for the perfect spot, female carpenter bees start by drilling, or gnawing with their mandibles, into the wood against the grain. After they get in about half an inch (some cases 1-2 inches) in they make a 90 degree turn and start to drill with the grain. From the opening the will drill for 4 to 8 inches, in some cases, they will drill both directions in the wood from their entry hole.Carpenter Bee on a Tree

When she has finished tunneling the area she will go to the furthest end and place a food ball that is made up of pollen and regurgitated nectar. Next to that food ball she will lay an egg and will then seal up that food ball and egg with a wall of chewed wood pulp, from her tunneling. This wall creates a brood cell where the egg will go through all 4 life stages of egg, larval, pupal, and adult over a 7 week time. During the larvae stage of development is where the grub will consume the food ball left by its mother. This one brood cell is not all that the female carpenter bee will create, she will make multiple brood cells in the chamber she built, one after the other like train cars, till she reaches the entrance.

While the majority of damage is done where we cannot see it, and might not be disturbing to some, it is important to remember that carpenter bee holes are not only attracting other carpenter bees but also their predator, the Woodpecker. Woodpeckers love to peck and carpenter bee holes in search of the larval stages to eat. Woodpeckers can turn a perfectly round hole into a mess of wood and shavings in a matter of minutes.

If you have carpenter bee activity around your home or business and would like to have it treated, contact Hoffman’s today for a free inspection and estimate.