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Mar 12, 2020

Do Carpenter Bees Cause Damage?

The carpenter bee derives its name from the fact that they burrow into hard plants, such as deadwood or even bamboo. The purpose of their burrowing is to create a nest for themselves. Interestingly, most carpenter bees are actually solitary dwellers, unlike the majority of other bee species that prefer to build nests together.

However, this doesn’t mean they are not social, while the bees create individual nests they do prefer to create nests near each other and female bees have been noted to share tunnels, especially if they are mother/daughter.

It is worth noting that carpenter bees are often confused with bumblebees as they look similar. That’s why you need to check with your local exterminator and find out more info before you tackle them.


Do They Cause Damage?

The short answer is yes. Carpenter bees create boreholes in wood, your home has plenty of wood that is attractive to them, even wood that has been treated can be attacked.

However, the carpenter bee does not eat wood, it is actually an important pollinator, the damage it does to your wood is minimal as it just creates a few tunnels for it to live in.

The problem arises because carpenter bees tend to build nests near each other and a nest is not generally reused. This means if they go unnoticed for a period of time you can end up with lots of carpenter bee nests, this is likely to weaken your wood and cause issues in your home.

Checking For Carpenter Bees

You’ll notice bees flying around, if they look like bumblebees but have shiny abdomens then they are Carpenter bees. You’ll need to look on the underside of the wood around your home, entrance holes for carpenter bees are always upward or inward and they’ll be approximately half-an-inch in diameter.

It’s worth noting that the male bee doesn’t have a stinger and it’s very rare for the female bee to sting.

Additional Damage

Carpenter bees can only cause extensive damage if you have lots of them and they are left only for an extended period of time. However, woodpeckers like to feed on these bees. Unfortunately, the woodpecker will do a lot of damage to your wood when they hammer it to access the bees.

Dealing With Carpenter Bees

The safest approach is to get the professionals to deal with the bees for you. You can try using pesticides but these are not normally very effective against Carpenter bees. This is because the bees only chew the wood to create nests unless you’re spraying every day the bees probably won’t ingest enough pesticide to kill them.

The simplest approach is to spray insecticide directly into the holes every day, this is time-consuming but ultimately effective. You can also replace wood with a composite material that won’t attract the bees, although this will depend on which part of your home is affected. Replacing structural timbers is much more difficult than replacing a porch railing.
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