We’ve only just beguuunnn… The buzzing bug season, that is. You might be noticing more buzzing outside or the pitter patter of little ant feet in your walls! That’s because the carpenters are at work, carving pathways through and around structures in and out of your house. Despite popular belief, neither carpenter ants nor bees actually consume the wood, they just discard it into little sawdust piles called ‘frass’. This is one of the ways you can spot an infestation right away. If you have ants you’ll find a dust pile that includes little ant bodies, if it is a bee you’ll find the frass accompanied by a perfect circle a little less than an inch in diameter. Don’t panic! The carpenters rarely cause severe damage, especially when proper prevention techniques are met, or the situation is treated right away or regularly.
Carpenter bees look very similar to Bumblebees. Both bees are quite large, about a half inch or bigger. Carpenter bees have shiny black bodies with purple and green reflections and are fast and erratic flyers. While bumblebees are ground-nesters, Carpenter bees dwell in wood. They’re are generally not aggressive and rarely sting. Carpenter ants can be all different colors, but the most common one is black. They are usually large but can range in size from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch. Carpenter ants are largely identified by homeowners from the dust they leave behind and by their unique nesting patterns called ”galleries’.
It can be difficult to treat for either problem yourself, but there are things you can do to prevent an infestation. Prevention will be your main approach to managing the carpenters and will save you some time and money later on. Do a thorough walkthrough of your house and yard, inspecting any areas that might have cracks or crevasses that might make a good home for insects. Check for water leaks or areas that have had a water leak at one time as carpenter ants find moisture rich areas attractive. Clean out your gutters to prevent your roof lines from becoming soggy. Locate any dead or rotting wood and get rid of it or fix it. Bees prefer to live in unpainted and untreated wood, so it’s good idea to paint or seal any wooden structures that you may have on your property.
Before you head for the phone to call a professional to get rid of bees, you should ask yourself if it is really necessary. Are the bees threatening structures in and around your house? Are they dwelling in an area where people frequent? Is anyone in your house allergic to them? If you just occasionally see bees but don’t believe them to be living in or damaging any part of your home, it’s a good idea to just ignore them. Bees are extremely important to our environment and agriculture. It is said that bees are responsible for 1/3 of the human food supply. They are pollination agents working for Mother Nature and mankind alike.
Carpenter ants, on the other hand, can be especially frustrating. They’re diet varies and food sources are plentiful, which can be why it is difficult to treat them with ant baits. The longer you are experiencing ants the more likely damage is to occur. The areas that infestations frequently occur include around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches but have been found just about everywhere. The good news is that the carpenter ant parent colony is always outside, so treating outdoors will likely lessen the activity you see inside.