Why should you understand the life cycle of a carpenter bee? The most important step to prevent carpenter bees from nesting in your home is being aware of when their season starts. Being proactive to their arrival, rather than reactive to the destruction, is the key to carpenter bee treatment.
The carpenter bee young emerge from their nests in the springtime. Depending upon where you live, it can be as early as late February for the southern states and as late as the end of May for northern states. To avoid the guessing game, you should anticipate the wood bees as soon as the weather turns from winter to spring. This is the time when the Original B Brothers Bee Trap should be hung up around you home.
When the carpenter bees first emerge they have a 2-3 week time frame of finding a mate. During this time they gather food and search for the male or female they will nest with. Carpenter bees are solitary bees, so while several young may emerge from the same nest this does not mean they will continue to live together. Typically a carpenter bee male and carpenter bee female will create their own nest together. At the most, one nest will house a few carpenter bee siblings.
Once the wood bees have found their mate and round up their needed nourishment, it is time for nest construction. The female is the lead engineer in this endeavor. She will pick the spot and carve out the entire nest – typically between 2’- 4’ per season! The male carpenter bee’s sole job is to protect their staked out territory from other carpenter bees and predators. If you have ever noticed a carpenter bee dive-bombing your head when you’ve gotten close to a nest it is without a doubt the male. The female will spend all of her time in the construction of the nest and producing the young.
Into the summer months the carpenter bees continue to build their nests and produce their young. The inner tunnel chambers are quite elaborate. Each season the carpenter bee female will forge new tunnel space about 2’ - 4’ feet back each time with small side chambers where the young larva is laid to grow. Once the adult female and male have finished their task of creating offspring and protecting them in the nests, they will naturally die inside the nest.
By the end of summer and early fall, male carpenter bees who have not found a mate will start to become more active as their instinct to find a home for winter increases. This is essentially a second season for the carpenter bee traps. During this time it is likely many of the males will find their way to the traps in search for an easy and safe home.
Although males don’t cause the damage that females do, it is important you catch any who are looking to find a home in your home. Carpenter bees pick their nests every year by finding the easiest solution possible. They use the pheromone smell that is released by dead carpenter bees to guide them to pre-existing nests or potential holes that could turn into nests. Both dead male and female carpenter bees release attractive pheromones to other carpenter bees that are in the search of the perfect home.