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What Should I Do If I Have Carpenter Bees on My Property?

Updated on: June 3, 2024

Discovering carpenter bees on your property can be concerning. Known for their ability to drill perfectly round holes into wood, carpenter bees can cause structural damage over time and become a nuisance, especially during the warmer months. If you find yourself facing an infestation, it's important to act swiftly but thoughtfully to address the problem without harming beneficial bee populations. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to manage carpenter bees on your property effectively.

Understand Carpenter Bees

First, it's crucial to understand that carpenter bees are not typically aggressive. Male carpenter bees, which are often seen hovering around nests, do not have stingers. Females can sting but rarely do so unless directly provoked. Carpenter bees prefer untreated, exposed wood, such as that found in decks, outdoor furniture, and eaves.

Identify the Problem

Carpenter bee activity is most noticeable in late spring, when females are looking to nest. Signs of an infestation include:

  • Visible round holes in wood structures.
  • Sawdust beneath drilling sites.
  • The presence of large, black bees hovering near the eaves of your house or wooden structures.

Immediate Actions to Take

  1. Assess the Damage: Evaluate the extent of the infestation and the damage to your property. Small numbers of carpenter bees can be managed relatively easily, but extensive damage may require professional assistance.
  2. Seal Exposed Wood: Paint or seal exposed wood surfaces to make them less attractive to carpenter bees. Bees prefer untreated wood, so applying a protective coating can deter future nesting.
  3. Use Bee Spray for Active Nests: If you discover an active carpenter bee nest, using an insecticidal spray designed for bees can eliminate the occupants. However, this should be done cautiously and according to the product's instructions to minimize harm to yourself and other wildlife.
  4. Plug Nesting Holes: After you're certain the bees have been removed or in the late fall when carpenter bees are less active, plug the holes with wood putty or wooden dowels coated in wood glue. This prevents the bees from reusing the holes and deters others from nesting in the same location.

When to Call Professionals

While DIY methods can be effective for small infestations, larger problems may require professional intervention. Pest control experts can offer more comprehensive solutions, including treating and sealing large areas, applying long-lasting treatments to discourage future nesting, and providing advice on preventing carpenter bee activity on your property.

Long-Term Prevention

To prevent future carpenter bee problems:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain wooden structures around your property.
  • Treat wood surfaces with paint or varnish.
  • Remove old, untreated wood and replace it with treated wood or alternative materials less attractive to bees.

Dealing with carpenter bees on your property requires a balanced approach of immediate action, professional help, and long-term prevention strategies. By understanding carpenter bee behavior and taking steps to make your property less attractive to them, you can protect your home from damage while also respecting these important pollinators. If you're unsure about the best course of action, consulting with the pest control professionals at PermaKill Exterminating can provide peace of mind and ensure that the problem is handled safely and effectively.


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