What Damage Can Carpenter Bees Cause?

carpenter bee outside albany home

When we think of bees, we think of insects that buzz around in our yards and pollinate our plants--well, most of the time. Thanks to Hollywood, sometimes, we think about large swarms of bees attacking us. But, that rarely happens in the United States, and it never happens with carpenter bees. Carpenter bees don't swarm. They are not social bees. And carpenter bees hardly ever sting people. Male carpenter bees do not have the ability to sting, and female carpenter bees are too busy ensuring the continuation of their species to sting us. It is only when accidental contact occurs that females will sting. But that does not mean these, mostly harmless bees, have no effect on us. They can damage our property. Here are some things you need to know. 

Carpenter Bee Damage 

If you're not aware, female carpenter bees have the ability to bore circular tunnels into wood. It is this tunneling that can be an issue for a property owner. While a single female carpenter bee only creates a tunnel that is around a foot in length, multiple bees, and multiple infestations, can lead to significant damage. Carpenter bees use tunnels established by other carpenter bees. When they do, they expand those tunnels and create more damage. This can lead to some of the following problems. 

  • Carpenter bees can bore holes in exterior stairs and weaken those stairs. If a stair snaps, it can lead to a fall.

  • When carpenter bees bore up into railings, they can give way.

  • Unlike termites, carpenter bees don't tunnel entirely inside wood. Sometimes their tunneling efforts produce a path of holes. These dots and dashes are unsightly when they appear on rooflines, soffits, and eaves. But they also give access to other pests.

  • Carpenter bees can do a number on many exterior wooden structures, especially structures that have untreated wood. 


Since carpenter bees can damage the wood on your property, it is important to recognize these bees when you see them. But, don't worry. It is actually pretty simple to identify these bees. Carpenter bees are large bees that are often mistaken for bumblebees because of their black and yellow coloring. But there is a big difference between bumblebees and carpenter bees. The abdomen of carpenter bees is shiny and black and lacks the yellow hairs found on the abdomens of bumblebees. This is a characteristic that can easily be seen from several feet away. You'll also notice carpenter bees in locations where there is untreated wood. Bumblebees do not bore into wood, and they have no interest in being up near your roofline or underneath your deck, unless you have flowers in these places. 

Carpenter Bee Prevention 

There are two ways homeowners can prevent carpenter bee infestations. Since these bees bore into wood, the secret to keeping them out is centered on protecting the wood on your property. 

Carpenter bees prefer untreated and unpainted wood. While it is possible to find these bees boring into treated or painted wood, it is less likely. 

Carpenter bees can enter wood from the ends. Covering these ends with metal can prevent these bees from boring their way in. 

The Best Way To Stop Carpenter Bees 

When it comes to wood-damaging pests, the best solution is to partner with a professional pest control company. Your home is one of the largest investments, if not the largest investment, you'll make in your life. Wood-damaging pests cause damage that can be extremely hard to fix and can require a complete replacement of entire portions of a home. When you have ongoing pest service, you'll have routine inspections that will detect the presence of wood-destroying organisms, and your pest control technician will respond immediately to arrest the damage being done. And, when it comes to exterminating carpenter bees, an educated pest technician will follow established protocols to prevent the accidental sealing of female carpenter bees inside the structure, which can lead to additional damage as she is sure to tunnel her way back out. 

If you are in our New York service area, let Thomas Pest Services help you protect your property from carpenter bees and other wood-damaging pests. You never get a second chance to stop the damage caused by wood-chewing pests.

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