“We’re getting exterminators,” my colleague said.
“Oh?” I asked.
“Yes. For the carpenter bees.”

Immediately picturing tiny carpentry projects, I ask him: “What are carpenter bees.”

“They look like bumble bees but they bore little holes in wood and make their nests there. The nests are these networked tunnels and they can wreak havoc to the roof trusses.”

I know these carpenter bees. I have a little black-and-white one living in a beam outside my bedroom. It is too cute to watch it go “bzzz bzzz bzzz” in pseudo random patterns and then suddenly “plonk” into the nest.

carpenter bee

But now I worry. Should I be getting rid of the little bee?

The internet’s answer to my question is “Use insecticide or call a professional exterminator.” No, not “how do I get rid of carpenter bees?” the question is “should I get rid of carpenter bees?”

Internet, you disappoint me.

But I keep on looking.

Wikipedia’s entry┬áhas this little sentence:

“Since the tunnels are near the surface, structural damage is generally minor or nonexistent.”

Following the reference, I get more information:

“Carpenter bee damage to wood initially is minor, and carpenter bees seldom cause consequential structural damage. However, their repeated colonization of the same wood can eventually cause considerable wood damage.”

In summation:

Q: Should I get rid of carpenter bees?
A: Only if there are many of them and they keep on returning every year. Your best bet is to paint your wooden surfaces and leave an old log for them to nest in instead. Because, seriously, why don’t you want little fun black-and-white bees buzzing around your flowers? They don’t sting unless provoked, unlike killer red wasps that will attack several times for no fathomable reason other than “because I can.”

angry wasp

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