Keeping Carpenter Bees Away By Improving Your Home

carpenter bees

Wood bore bees, also known as carpenter bees, are amazing pollinators but terrible house guests. Their classic black and yellow, often robust bodies are reminiscent of the fellow bumblebee, yet they play different roles in the ecosystem and in your home. Unlike a docile bumblebee, carpenter bees are wood-destroying insects, often leaving deep craters in the foundations of the wooden exterior of your home. 

But, before you start swatting, let’s take a look at why these wood-destroying creatures want to move into your home. 

What Is a Carpenter Bee?

Carpenter bees are known for their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for their young. One way to differentiate a carpenter bee from a bumble bee is to compare the color of their abdomens. A carpenter bee’s abdomen is jet black and shiny, while a bumble bee’s abdomen is alternating fuzzy stripes of black and yellow. 

A common misconception about these bees is that they’re wood-eating insects, which is false. Instead of eating the wood, carpenter bees carve tunnels and holes in the wood to make a home for their families and future young. Because carpenter bees are independent nesters, signs of damage might be hard to notice at first. Look out for piles of discarded sawdust under the entrance holes they make. 

Home Improvements That Keep Carpenter Bees Away––For Good

Carpenter bees prefer unfinished, rough-surfaced wood to make their dwelling space. Common hot spots for carpenter bees are wooden siding, door frames, windowsills, outdoor furniture, and the face boards of porches. One hole isn’t enough to cause detrimental structural damage, but over time, the holes can branch off into tunnels as the colony grows. These extensive tunnels are what lead to expensive structural damage. 

Here’s a list of home improvement tips that can discourage them from nesting on your property.

Pest Control Treatments––The first thing you need to do is to evict your unwanted guests. An insecticide should be dusted into the excavated holes to coat all the tunnels inside. Keep the holes open––the point of this treatment is to have the bees travel through the tunnels so that they come into contact with the insecticide. You may need to do this multiple times before you see an improvement. In the fall, once the bees are gone, you can plug the holes to prevent the bees from returning in the spring. Make sure you protect your eyes and your mouth to prevent from inhaling any dust. 

Paint and Varnish––Since carpenter bees will seek out untreated, unfinished wood, a simple way to prevent them from moving in is to paint or varnish susceptible wood surfaces.

Flashing and Screening––Another way to deter bees is to put flashing and screening over wood.

Though carpenter bees rarely sting, they’re still a nuisance to your home. If you live in the Birmingham area and need help getting rid of these pests, call Vulcan Termite and Pest Control today, and we’ll send out a specialist!