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How to Get Rid of Wood Boring Bees

We all agree that bees are good for the environment and the honey they produce is just delicious. Did you know there are more than 20.000 species of bees in the world? The good thing is none of them are a problem for landowners except one. 

You guessed it, we are talking about the carpenter bees also known as wood boring bees. Carpenter bees can be found on almost every continent except for Antarctica, because it is insanely cold.  They belong to the group known as Xylocopa and have more than 500 species alone.

Let’s first discuss how the carpenter bees differ from the regular bumblebees.

Difference between bumblebees and carpenter bees

Bumblebees usually scale around ½ to 1 inch long with yellow and black bodies with a very hairy lower abdomen. On the other hand, carpenter bees do resemble bumblebees in terms of size and colors, but they have hairless and shiny black abdomens. They tend to be less social creatures and might annoy residents by hovering around the house and drilling holes in the wooden walls and doors, whereas bumblebees do not damage homes.

Both bees produce honey but carpenter bees produce a slightly thicker version which is comparable to peanut butter or cookie dough. The viscosity of the honey though doesn’t mean that it is less sweet than other variations. But carpenter bees can be really miserly, and only produce enough honey to feed their young – which is not nearly enough for human beings. What a bummer!

How to detect a carpenter bee infestation

Carpenter bees do not eat wood. They just bore holes in it and make deep tunnels for their nests. They target unprotected and weathered wood that is not painted or has lost its outer bark covering. They prefer pine, fir, oak and redwood over other wood types. These tunnels are carved out by the female bees and can be reused every year.

Tunnels can extend at a 90 degree angle, making them deeper. Female bees are the only ones that can bite but don’t unless provoked. Male carpenter bees just buzz violently to scare other insects from their territories. This continuous tunneling causes the wood to become weak and the resultant water seepage can makes it rot faster.

Come spring time, carpenter bees mate and build their nests on decks, porches and eaves, being in close proximity to human beings. These holes can be up to 1cm for larger bees and much smaller for smaller bees. The tunnels are skillfully crafted and might appear to be made using an electric drill. There are some signs that you need to look for when you see bee activity around your property:

  1. Holes in walls that were not there in the previous season

  2. Sawdust residues on the floor below the hole

  3. Bee feces near the entrance of the holes. These can be a combination of yellow pollen and bee wastes

  4. Bees flying around are hard to miss

Measures you can take on your own

Although there are quite a number of ways you can get rid of wood boring bees, the best way to do so this is by using insecticides. Spray generously and directly inside the holes in the walls. Feels cruel to kill them while they’re sleeping, but they’re trespassing. Tunnels going as deep as 6 to 8 inches can impact the structural integrity of the entire wall. Leave the holes open for a couple of days so that other bees can also come in contact with the spray and die.

Here are some other ways you can deploy at your own convenience:

Carpenter bee traps – these are like bird houses specifically designed to attract carpenter bees. The trap has built in holes for the bees to enter with a sticky solution in a jar at the bottom. Once the bees enter they cannot leave. If you prefer a non-chemical approach to the problem then this is the way to go. In case of an existing infestation, hang the trap close to the bee activity zones. In case you are implementing the trap as a prevention strategy before mating season, hang it near corners that receive a lot of sunlight.

Dust filling – the tunnels can extend at a 90 degree angle as deep as 8 inches into the wall as mentioned before. This can cause the wall to weaken as it is very likely that there will be more than one hole in it. It is important to take care of the problem promptly as soon as it is detected. You can use a B&G Dust-R Duster or similar tool to fill the holes.

Residual insecticides – although these are not as effective as aerosols, liquid residual insecticides are widely available at all hardware stores. You may have to repeat the process more than once for it to completely eliminate the infestation.

Calling an exterminator – if you believe you are unable to handle the problem, or bugs scare the living bejesus out of you, call an expert for help. You can easily find one online in your zip code.

Dealing with the aftermath

After the problem has been dealt with, it is important to seal the holes and paint over the wooden surfaces with fresh paint to make them less vulnerable to bees. Exposed holes, if left unattended, can allow water seepage. The wood can rot or fungi will grow in places you don’t want.

Solutions Pest & Lawn Can Help You Eliminate Wood Boring Bees

At Solutions Pest & Lawn, we have a number of items that are perfect for controlling wood boring bees or carpenter bees. Few of the examples are Demon WPFenva Star cap, Dominion 2L as well as Firponil Foaming Aerosol.

If you need more helpful information in eliminating boring bees or any other pest problem you may encounter, reach out to us at 800-479-6583, email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or go on our website and start up a live chat with an expert representative.


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