Hovering carpenter bee on roofdeck? What to do?

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

I have been putting my baby plants out on my roofdeck for the past several days to harden them off, and bringing them in at night. Today I haven't put them out because I noticed a very large bee hovering in the middle of my small roofdeck, and it's been there, hovering in the air, a few feet above the deck, for at least a couple of hours now.

I looked up bee identification pictures and believe that it's a carpenter bee. It's the size of a bumble bee, has a black head, then a tan fuzzyish section, then a shiny black back half which is longer and wider than the tan section and tapers to the back.

My questions: Why is it hovering there? Has it already made a nest somewhere on my roofdeck that it's protecting? Is it just surveying or waiting for a mate? And what can I do about it, as I'd like to have access to my roofdeck?

My roofdeck is only a couple of years old and made of mahogany, so it isn't easily bored into rotted wood.

Any help is much appreciated!!!!!

Richmond, VA(Zone 7b)

You probably put your plants on top of its nest, where it is raising young. It cannot figure out how to get back home.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks, jajtiii, but there were no plants out there at the time. Actually, though I never found out what the story was, I have, with much guilt, solved the problem in a way I preferred not to. As the bee continued to remain, hovering, for several more hours, I first sprayed it with water from a misting bottle several times. It went away only for several seconds each time and returned. I was hoping to persuade it that another place would be a better place to live, but it seemed determined to remain. I guess I finally decided that the bee had definitely determined that my roofdeck was its home, and as I didn't want to be afraid to go out on my roofdeck all summer, it would either be the bee or me. So as much as I hated to, the bee is no longer in that carpenter bee existence.

Pickens, SC(Zone 7a)

I know this sounds hateful but it is defending "its" territory. Keep a spare badmitton racket handy.. they will ruin your wood.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the support, charlotteda. Think I'll take your advice. In case you're a DA, can I plead self-defense or insanity due to bee terrorism on the last one?

Forestville, NY

It's only a carpenter bee just leave it be they are harmless unless its making a nest in your deck. If thatís the case fill the hole with wood filler and paint the deck with a good exterior paint to keep it form coming back.

Pickens, SC(Zone 7a)

Not a DA... just a beekeeper . I appreciate all bees... some types I appreciate more when they are far far from my house !

I dont believe in mindlessly killing anything but they drill countless holes in our house and barn each year. They are very destructive and love to drill in wood painted or not.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

I sure know what you mean, but guess I'm still feeling guilty. It seems we can use all the bees we can get- these days especially.

Lakeside Marblehead, OH

Carpenter bees are kinda strange, but really harmless to humans, but sure make a mess making holes in my wooden shed..Seems every year I have one that follows me all over the yard...It just hovers & seems to watch everything I'm doing...Wheww can they dart fast too..They are not agressive just very curious!

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the info, Greg. Are you sure it's not following you around to protect its nest? Or maybe you smell good or look like a flower?

Lakeside Marblehead, OH

Not really sure I've only see one or 2 around the last few yrs...If another one appears it drives it off.. At first I was afraid of this strange looking bee but after doing research on it I realized it was harmless..If I go in the shed it just hoovers outside by the door...If I'm in the yard it follows me everywhere...It never dives down on me or gets agressive....Likes to hover wayyy above my head & it look's like it's watching everything I do...Kinda errie but we co exist (-:

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

That's really interesting. Thanks.

Marysville, OH(Zone 5b)

I've got carpenter bees too, in my carport. I have a whole bunch of those perfect round holes with a yellow runoff coming out of the hole. Everytime I pull into the car port this big guy comes down and hovers outside the car window for a minute, then goes back to the nest. I finally figured out I have a security guard. He comes down, makes sure it's me and then oks the car. My sister says if she comes to visit me she'll be sure to bring ID so the bee will let her pass.

But seriously, while I'm not afraid of the big guy anymore, how much damage are they capable of doing to the carport? They are burrowing into the supports. I've heard they are capable of making nests 10 ft. long! Last year there was just one and one hole. This year there are about 12 holes although I've only seen two bees. I don't want to kill them if I don't have to, but if they are going to knock the roof onto my car...

(Audrey) Dyersburg, TN(Zone 7a)

I know what they are!! They're from another planet, far, far, away! You're under surveilence! Be afraid! Be VERY afraid!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

They have nests for cutter bees. I wonder if you got some of those they would use them instead. Maybe hang it right over the ones they have made.

Greg, I think that bee is in love. LOL


Highland, MD(Zone 7a)

Carpenter bees bore into the wood and make tunnels to lay their eggs in. The tunnels have off shoots and that is where the eggs are placed. I live in a log home and have been dealing with these bees for years. The males that you see hovering around, they fight with each other and they do not sting, just buzz close to your head. I've been told that the females are aggressive and will sting but I've never seen any of them do anything other than make holes and fly around. There are a couple of things you can do to protect your house, deck and other building.

First you can make 'faux' houses for them. All it takes is nice block of wood (they love pine) that they can chew into to make their homes. The other thing which is what we had done is there is an additive that you can add to the sealers you use on your house or deck that kills the bees when they chew the wood. I hated having to do this and if it were not for the woodpeckers wouldn't have. See in my case the woodpeckers here go after the bee larva, so the small hole that the bee makes is nothing in comparison to the huge gashes that the pileated woodpecker cause while tearing into the hole and than gashing out the tunnels!

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the info, Idy. But where do you locate your pine block bee home, and how do you get them to use it, rather than your house?

Highland, MD(Zone 7a)

It's hit or miss honestly. Filling the holes they've already made and then offering a new hole in a block of wood in the same area is about as close to relocation as you can get. We had our log home cob blasted a few years ago, they patched all the holes and treated the entire house when they stained it. We went from lots of carpenter bees to very few, I think I saw maybe three this year and found one new hole on the side of the house. If they are really eating you out of your house, treating where they are eating might be your best solution.

Jamaica Plain, MA(Zone 6a)

Well thankfully my problem was only tiny compared with your major invasion. Thanks for the info, and good luck relocating your bees!

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