"How to get rid of carpenter bees" is a question many people find asking themselves during the spring and early summer each year. Though carpenter bees may at times look and act intimidating, they rarely sting (the male cannot sting, the female needs to be greatly provoked to sting). Though the damage to wood caused by a carpenter bee is much less than that of a termite, they can damage a structure over time and we'll describe how their tunnels can invite moisture and other damage. This site is designed to give a quick and informative summary for those experiencing a problem with carpenter bees.
Carpenter bees, unlike honey bees, bumble bees and yellow jackets, are solitary individuals. They drill a perfectly round hole in wood, and then proceed to lay eggs and raise the next generation. So the first sign you have of a carpenter bee problem is one or more round holes, usually in soft, unfinished wood, with a single bee entering and emerging . It's a large bee with a shiny black hairless abdomen.
Carpenter Bee Danger and Damage: As we mentioned, there's not much danger of getting stung by a carpenter bee. The male cannot sting, though he does put on the act of being aggressive. You'd probably need to deliberately and viciously grab the female in your hand to get stung by her.
Leave them alone, and they'll leave you alone. They're actually pretty interesting. The hole they construct is perfectly round, goes inward for about an inch, then makes a turn and goes about six inches further following the wood grain.
However, here's the problem. There can be many carpenter bee holes, each with an unsightly feces stain fanning out at the base of the hole. And those holes can attract moisture, causing decomposition of the wood. In addition, next year's carpenter bee may expand the hole six more inches. And finally, a woodpecker, hearing the carpenter bee inside the hole moving about and chewing wood, may destructively dig into the wood in an attempt to capture and eat the bee.
Carpenter bees are looking for soft wood like redwood, cedar or pine that is unfinished. It could be the back side of window trim or siding, the ceiling of a porch, an unfinished portion of a wooden deck or play structure. The carpenter bee drills a perfectly round 1/2 inch diameter hole in the wood to lay her eggs and raise her young. She then creates a compartment for each egg (about 6-10 in all), places a pollen food ball in each compartment, seals it with wood pulp, then dies. The eggs hatch, their larvae feed on the pollen balls, transform into the pupal, and finally the adult stage. All this happens annually around March, April and May.
Your first line of defense is prevention:
If the problem is large, meaning that there are multiple carpenter bee holes on your property, you could apply an aerosol insecticide spray to the bees you see flying around in order to achieve an immediate control of the problem. However, this is only a very temporary measure.
The more permanent measure will involve applying an insecticide dust to the exposed carpenter bee drill hole nests. Timing is important: At night while the bees are at rest, or in the early spring while they're hibernating. You'll want to ensure the bees are exterminated BEFORE sealing their nest holes, or they'll just bore further inward in an attempt to escape.
Now that the bees are exterminated, seal up their nest holes. Fill the holes with steel wool, or a dowel and wood glue, or caulk, or even a wad of aluminum foil. It's important to fill the holes as much as possible before sealing them. An abandoned nest hole that is not properly sealed invites carpenter bees, and other pests and exposes the wood to moisture damage.
Finally, sand the surface smooth, and apply a coat of exterior paint or a polyurethane finish as with the preventative given measures above.
To ensure your carpenter bee problem is completely solved, contact ApolloX Pest Control for a professional carpenter bee inspection. We'll not only discover carpenter bee issues that you may have missed, but in addition, inspect for other pest issues since the presence of carpenter bees can be a signal that your home is susceptible to other pests such as carpenter ants, termites and wood boring beetles.
Following a thorough professional carpenter bee inspection, we'll create a pest prevention strategy for your home, so you can be assurred that there are no hidden pest issues compromising the integrity of your home, the health of your family, or the reputation of your business.
Do you think you have a carpenter problem? Don't wait until they further multiply and riddle the exterior surface of your home, deck or play structure with their finely drilled carpenter bee nest holes.