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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees


Like their namesakes, carpenter bees are known for working in wood. However, their work isn’t quite the kind that most homeowners prefer! As they drill circular holes in wood to make tunnels, they can weaken the integrity of your structure.

While their relatives, including bumble bees and honeybees, live in colonies, carpenter bees are decidedly antisocial insects. They usually choose to build their nests in trees but commonly make their way onto front porches or the sides of a building. 

Did they find your home? Today, we’re sharing how to get rid of carpenter bees once and for all, and prevent an infestation from occurring again. 

A Closer Look at Carpenter Bees

Before you try to tackle your bee problem, it helps to understand what you’re dealing with. On their own, carpenter bees aren’t harmful or dangerous. In fact, they’re some of the most beneficial pollinators around!

However, that only applies when they’re buzzing around your garden. When they decide to bore into your deck, wood siding, mailbox posts, or outdoor furniture, they quickly turn from helpers to harmers.

First, you’ll see a telltale round hole in the spot where they’ve been, surrounded by a thin layer of sawdust. Then, you may spot one or two bees building a nest nearby. About 3/4-inch to 1-inch long, these bees have long, shiny abdomens, unlike bumble bees with their fuzzy rear ends. 

While they might look intimidating at first glance, they’re unlikely to be very interested in harming or even bothering you. Most carpenter bees are solitary workers, who are intently focused on building their bee nest and foraging for their young. However, they can wreak some serious havoc in the process. 

Males vs. Females

Carpenter bees usually appear in early spring. While the females will discretely move in and out of their holes, the males are more dominant and flashy. You’ll see them marking their territory by hovering around their nest, chasing one another, and battling it out for control of the space.  

While they can sound loud and intimidating as they fly about, the good news is that carpenter bees aren’t known to sting. Males don’t have stingers, and females only sting when they’re squeezed hard. 

Why They’re an Issue

If these bees are so helpful and harmless, why are they a problem to have around your home? The answer lies in their pesky appearance and the minor damage they can cause.

Carpenter bees move toward a structure when they need a place to build their nest. Once a female mates, she’ll use her strong mandibles to make a hole in nearby wood. As soon as she has a half-inch opening, she’ll turn and make the tunnel deeper, going with the grain.

While they might be small in size, each tunnel can take a few months to complete. They often run together, creating a network of cells where the female bees can store food and lay eggs. When the babies hatch in the summer, they’ll overwinter in the old tunnels their mother bore. 

How to Prevent an Infestation 

While the structural damage that carpenter bees create isn’t extensive, more elaborate and well-used tunnels can affect the surface of the wood. In addition, if nearby woodpeckers discover the tunnels, they could peck into them in an attempt to access the bee larvae.  This is why preventative methods are key! 

Here are a few ways to keep these bees at bay. 

Protect Your Wooden Surfaces

Do you have wooden furniture or accessories on your porch? What about wooden siding around your exterior? One way to prevent carpenter bees from drilling into these areas is to add a protective coat to them. 

Many times, bees won’t infiltrate an area if the wood is sealed, painted, or pressure-treated in any way. It’s as if they know this extra layer will make it too hard to dig into the wood, so it’s not worth even trying. 

Add Flashing

If you have rough timber anywhere on or near your home, you may have covered the entire surface except for the rough ends. Add a little metal flashing or wire to keep this area off-limits to any wandering carpenter bees. 

Opt for Inpenetrable Materials 

This step might not apply if you’ve already built or purchased your home, but if you’re building from the ground up, choose exterior materials that aren’t as easy for carpenter bees to bore into. 

Some ideas include:

  • Vinyl siding
  • Cement board siding
  • Aluminum siding
  • Composite siding

Try as they might, the bees won’t be able to penetrate these surfaces. While wooden siding can be an attractive addition to your home, it isn’t usually worth the headache of dealing with these seasonal pests

Why At-Home Methods Don’t Work

If you search for guides on how to eliminate carpenter bees, you’ll see a range of suggestions, from applying essential oils to spraying insecticides. While these are common bee extermination ideas, they don’t usually work, and here’s why. 

Topical solutions like these don’t usually penetrate the wood. To be effective, you’d have to re-apply them around the clock. In addition, if you have a widespread problem, you can’t exactly treat every single surface in your yard

The same goes for homemade or pre-made bee traps. While it might be exciting to see one or two insects inside them, they won’t help you catch the entire colony.  

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees for Good

As you can see, carpenter bees aren’t always the enemy. They play a useful role in nature and are responsible for some of those beautiful blooms and hearty harvests in your gardens. However, you don’t want them flying around your home. 

They are loud, annoying, and can even be aggressive. That’s why you need them gone ASAP. 

If you’re wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees, contact our team of professional exterminators today. At All “U” Need Pest Control, we’ve helped Florida homeowners just like you say goodbye to their bee buddies once and for all.

Explore our page to learn more about the services we provide, and contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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