Have you seen bees around your home that don’t look like the traditional black and yellow color of bumblebees? Instead, they’re almost fully black? These black bees are carpenter bees and, similar to carpenter ants, they may be up to no good around your home. Let’s learn a little more about them and how you can avoid any problems.
Types of Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees are common in Arizona; in fact, we have many species in the Grand Canyon State. The ones you’re most likely to encounter are the mountain carpenter bee and valley carpenter bee.
All types of carpenter bees look similar. They are mostly black with parts that look polished or metallic. Upon closer inspection, you will find a little yellow behind the neck of the bee, but from a distance, they will appear to be solid black. The black bees are also larger than typical bumblebees. They can range from 8 mm to 25 mm in length, so their size should give them away.
Habits of Black Bees
Black bees such as these are solitary and don’t tend to gather and colonize. Instead, the female will “drill” a hole into yucca or agave tree–and even dead tree trunks, limbs, and firewood. She will lay her eggs, about 10” deep into the wood. In an almost-perfect circle nest of sorts. After laying her eggs, the female will gather a ball of pollen and sawdust from her excavation to fill the hole in the wood.
She continues the process, making little apartments of eggs, all of which are separated by pollen and sawdust. She then leaves. As the baby black bees emerge, they eat through the pollen and are off to start their lives.
Damage Caused by Carpenter Bees
While not as invasive as carpenter ants or termites, carpenter bees do cause damage to wood structures. They don’t eat the wood; they bore into it. Black bees prefer old, unfinished wood, but they will bore into painted wood if the paint is chipping.
One of these solitary bees boring into your rafters wouldn’t be an issue. But often, the young females return to where they were born and create more tunnels for their eggs. Given enough time and cycles of birth, your home could certainly be at risk.
Benefits of Black Bees
Lest you think that carpenter bees are only about harming your home, remember that they are, after all, bees. And bees pollinate. Black bees are no different. With the overabundance of Africanized bees—and how actively people are eliminating them—carpenter bees may have much pollinating work to do in the future.
Black bees are a primary pollinator in the desert landscape. They are hardy, continuing to work even in the triple digits. This is important not only for our native surroundings but for the agricultural community. Some farmers are looking to attract carpenter bees for their natural pollination abilities.
Getting Rid of Carpenter Bees
If you’re not a farmer, you may not want to deal with black bees around your flowers, agave, and cacti. That’s when you should call in the specialists at Budget Brothers. We can help identify if you have honeybees, Africanized bees, or carpenter bees. Once identified, we can help remove these bees from your property.
Not willing to deal with carpenter bees? Call Budget Brothers today to schedule an inspection and removal of your black bee problem.