Have you noticed perfectly round holes in wooden structures outside your home? Maybe in the roof of your porch, in window trim, or siding? How about piles of fresh sawdust (frass), or scraping sounds inside the wood? If so, you very well may have a carpenter bee infestation.


Carpenter bees, also known as “wood-borers” or “wood bees”, are typically quite harmless. The males have no stinger, and the females only sting if you aggravate them enough to do so. They share a similar appearance with honey bees, with both being black and yellow, but carpenter bees have shiny, solid black abdomens. The females use their teeth to drill into wood, creating the 1/2 inch holes you would typically notice. From there they make their tunnels, which they lay eggs in, nest in, and store pollen in. They may reuse tunnels year after year, making them bigger with more tunnels each time. Carpenter bees don’t actually consume the wood, and are not technically considered a structural pest like termites, because they do not typically tunnel into the whole structure.


A severe infestation can cause structural damage by weakening the wood. It can create water damage by allowing water to seep in and cause the wood to rot. The wood can sometimes be stained by their feces, which damages the wood’s overall look. Thus the need to prevent an infestation when possible, and rid yourself of an infestation when it’s discovered.


Generally, carpenter bees prefer soft, unpainted and untreated wood. Cedar, redwood, cypress, and pine are typical woods they could drill into. It’s best to use preventative measures in the spring, before they have started nesting. Your best line of defense to prevent an infestation is to use hard or treated lumber. If possible, finish the lumber with paint or varnish. The thicker the finish, the less likely a female will choose it for a nesting site. A covering that’s not made from wood, such as vinyl, fiber cement, or even masonry would be suitable to ward them off. Other preventative measure such as filling cracks or holes, or even making sure the area is shaded rather than in sunlight, could help tremendously as well.


If it’s too late for prevention, you must think about repairing the damage done. Thankfully there are several options for this, and they are all fairly easy to accomplish. Always consult a professional if you are not sure, but this could be easily handled at home.

Try filling the holes while the carpenter bees are gone in the spring and fall. Stuff something like steel wool, aluminum foil, corks, or even wooden dowels. You can then use caulking to cover the holes, and paint over them. If bees are still inside the nest they can just create new exits, so if you can’t get to the nest while it’s empty, you may choose to fill the tunnels with an insecticide before filling holes. There are many sprays and powders available for this. Try to accomplish this at night or very early in spring while the bees hibernate. Always beware of angering the females, as they have the ability to sting.

A great recommendation would be to utilize the bee traps sold by BeesNThings. BeesNThings carpenter bee traps look just like bird houses, but uses a jar attached to trap bees. These traps are very effective. There are varied styles, and they can be hung, mounted, or sat where you need to place them. They are made to be reused, and require very little maintenance. You can choose to use a pesticide inside the trap or not. Overall, the BeesNThings carpenter bee traps are an easy to use product that legitimately works, with the added bonus of a great price. I would highly recommend trying on of their traps before any other method.