Discover the Signs of a Carpenter Bee Infestation, Damage & How to Have the Pest Safely Removed
When the forecast calls for warmer temperatures, the number of bees and other flying insects in the air creates quite a buzz. Some of these insects are beneficial and harmless, but others, including carpenter bees, can cause a significant amount of damage to property and even people.
All too often, homeowners see bees and assume they are dealing with harmless honey bees or bumblebees. Unlike the varieties of bees that live together in nests, carpenter bees are solitary creatures that live alone in nests made by burrowing into wood.
Their life cycle typically spans one year, with mature adults emerging from winter hibernation to mate in April or May.
Young carpenter bees hatch during the late summer months. By August or September, the bees leave their nests to feed and pollinate flowers along the way before hibernating during the winter.
How can you tell the difference between bumblebees and carpenter bees? Bumblebees have hairy abdomens, while carpenter bees are shiny and hairless. They tend to gather near wood structures found on a property — and therein lies the problem.
Even though these bees play an essential role in the ecosystem, carpenter bee damage can be serious.
What Attracts Carpenter Bees?
Wood is one of the chief elements that attracts these destructive pests, but it’s not the only thing that may draw them to a home or property. Understanding what attracts them can help when creating a prevention and control strategy for carpenter bees.
The more wood there is on a property, the more likely the property will attract carpenter bees. Untreated, unpainted lumber, particularly soft wood varieties, is particularly appealing to carpenter bees.
The less work females must do to drill into the wood, the more likely they are to view it as potential shelter.
Stacks of firewood, wood fences, sheds, decks, wood siding, rotting wood areas in older homes, and other wooden structures may draw carpenter bees to a property. Other conditions that attract them include:
- Flowers provide pollen and nectar for bees to eat.
- Old plank ends are ideal for drilling.
- Abandoned nests can be reused, often with expanded damage.
- Sheltered spots like eaves and corners under roof overhangs are quiet and secluded.
Signs of Carpenter Bee Infestation
Holes in wood are one of the main signs of carpenter bee damage. The holes are typically round, with a diameter around the same size as an adult finger.
At first glance, the openings may appear to be only an inch or so deep, but these bees usually tunnel far into the wood. After the initial inch, most tunnels branch off and extend for another six inches or more.
In addition to the holes, other signs that carpenter bees are present include:
- Carpenter bee droppings, which are greenish-yellow or yellowish-brown.
- Wood shavings or piles of sawdust outside of holes.
- Bees flying in and out of holes or hovering near wooden structures.
- Scratching sounds coming from inside wood.
Carpenter Bee Damage
When the stinging pest builds nests, carpenter bees drill and tunnel into wood to create chambers where their eggs can be laid.
They don’t eat wood, but they do excavate and destroy wood in their quest to build their nests.
- Structural Damage: If carpenter bees have been reusing the same wooden structure year after year, the large number of tunnels can start to weaken the wood. This is one of the most dangerous types of carpenter bee damage because it can compromise the structural integrity of a home or building.
- Woodpeckers: The carpenter bee larvae and pupae inside tunnels make an ideal snack for woodpeckers looking for their next meal. To get to the insects inside, woodpeckers will make more holes in the damaged wood, making the structure weaker and potentially dangerous.
- Water Damage: Water can get inside more easily when a large infestation produces several holes throughout a wooden structure.
- Stained Wood: The exterior of tunnels and other areas like siding, roofs, and more can become stained from carpenter bee excrement.
Carpenter Bee Droppings
Carpenter bee droppings are another sign that these pests have invaded.
The excrement is sticky and acidic, which makes it difficult to remove. It can also eat through paint, etch glass, and damage siding if left untreated.
To remove carpenter bee droppings, spray the affected area with a water hose. Then use soap and water to remove it thoroughly before rinsing the spot a final time.
Carpenter Bee Removal & Repair
Prevention can only do so much. Finishing and treating wood can help to reduce the odds that carpenter bees will nest there, but it won’t eliminate the risk altogether.
Removing these pests without professional help isn’t recommended, particularly if it’s a large infestation. Professionals have the necessary skills, experience, and equipment to remove the bees safely.
Additionally, even though carpenter bees rarely sting, females may sting if feeling threatened. Stings can be painful, toxic, and even trigger an allergic reaction.
As such, inexperienced individuals should not attempt carpenter bee removal and exclusion on their own. Instead, the help of an experienced professional is essential. This will help to ensure the safety of those on the property and help to prevent future infestations.
Professionals like Catseye Pest Control use specialized tools and tailor-made process that can fit into small crevices to mitigate carpenter bee damage and infestations.
To effectively control carpenter bees, it’s necessary to find and remove all nests located deep within the wooden structures around the property. Any traces of nests left behind could attract bees in the future.
Once the pest has been safely removed from the area, Catseye also offers a Carpenter Bee Damage & Control program designed to repair carpenter bee damage and work to prevent infestations in the future.
To start the carpenter bee removal process, schedule a free inspection. Our highly trained pest and nuisance wildlife technicians will conduct a thorough inspection of your property.
During the process, they pinpoint factors that may attract carpenter bees and identify entry points to nests before creating a customized plan for carpenter bee removal and damage repair.
Would you like to learn more? Contact us online today or call 888-260-3980, and we’ll be happy to answer questions.