Carpenter bees (also known as boring or wood bees) reappear each spring around April and May, and begin their drilling work on the wooden structures of your home. They are efficient, precise, and meticulous, and will drill nearly perfect holes that are round and about half an inch in diameter. These holes are the most obvious signs of a Carpenter bee infestation. Hearing the continuous drilling noise might drive you crazy when you’re outside on the deck trying to relax. These drilling sounds within the wood are caused by the female Carpenter bees work on their tunnels and nests. Using their strong jaws, female bees bore into the surface of the wood and the holes serve as entry points. Once the entrance is finished, they will make a sharp 90% turn and start tunneling by going along the grain of the wood. The tunnel will be somewhere between 1 to 4 feet long and will end with a nest.
In fact, Carpenter bees are not actually eating the wood but are only building a shelter and a cozy nest to lay their larvae. These shelters, unfortunately, ruin the appearance of the exterior wood surfaces of your house.
To determine if you have an infestation, look for bee frass that resembles sawdust from these drilling areas. You might notice a small pile of fresh sawdust outside the drilled hole around exterior wood surfaces or eaves. Besides the visible entry hole, you may also be able to see a fan-shaped stain just below the opening.
In addition, if you spot several male Carpenter bees hovering in one spot, it’s a clear sign that the female and its nest are close by. Ironically, the males have a job only to guard the nests while the females do all the work of drilling out the holes for their nests.
How Destructive Are Carpenter Bees?
As they create their circular tunnels, Carpenter bees are destructive to homes because they cause the wooden structure to weaken over time. When this weakness spreads to other boards, it causes the frame of the entire structure to begin to warp. As a result, floors can sink, walls can bulge, and ceilings can dip.
If you own a log home; or your home has some exterior features like beams, eaves, posts, and siding; or you have wooden structures in the yard such as a fence, a gazebo, or a shed, these all be ideal targets to a carpenter bee.
Carpenter bees like to nest in untreated and unfinished wood. They can drill tunnels in seasoned hardwoods, and in dead or decaying wood. Structural elements such as eaves, siding, beams, and posts, are useful for them. Thus, to prevent carpenter bees from destroying these items, painting, staining, or treating them is a good solution.
Unpainted and weathered softwoods like cedar, pine, or redwood, are also their favorite. Carpenter bees will be able to cause a lot of damage to them more quickly.
Should You Worry About Carpenter Bees?
You should definitely worry about Carpenter bees nesting in your home. However, a single bee is not going to ruin your house and is not much of a threat. Neither one bee, nor even the work of a hundred Carpenter bees will cause your deck to collapse. These insects will not destroy your house in the same way as termites or Carpenter ants do, and the damage is usually minor and cosmetic.
But it is the constant attacking the wooden structure, year after year, that is the most destructive. The female bees tend to recycle (with some modifications) the old tunnels and nests for their own larvae, often for many years at a time. This way, carpenter bees create long, hollow pathways throughout the entire wooden structures.
So, if you neglect and fail to treat a carpenter bee infestation, it will become a threat to your home. Over time, the damage will get worse and can lead to serious structural issues such as decay, rotting, and moisture retention.
Additionally, the weakened timber is unsafe and can lead to accidents. For example, if you step onto a damaged deck, your leg can fall through the wood, which may cause injuries.
It is recommended to get the help of a professional pest control company to get rid of Carpenter bees from your property. DIY methods can cause these destructive female bees to become trapped inside the wood. And if they’re trapped, they will drill a new tunnel when trying to escape. For a homeowner, this is bad news as new tunnels and holes mean more damage.
If you’re currently dealing with a Carpenter bee problem, and you live in our Atlanta service area, contact Peachtree Pest Control for an effective resolution to the problem. We provide expert pest and beehive removal as well as preventive pest control services for Carpenter bees. So, call us today at 855-732-2487 for more information and to schedule a free inspection.