How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees are helpful to the environment when they stick to living outside, as they are good pollinators. However, they have a penchant for burrowing into homes and causing extensive damage to different types of wood. In fact, in terms of destruction, carpenter bees are on par with carpenter ants and termites.
In this article, we’ll review how to get rid of carpenter bees, how to get rid of carpenter bee nests, how to get rid of hovering carpenter bees, and how to get rid of carpenter bees around the house. We’ll also go over some other helpful information about carpenter bees to help you get a better understanding of them, and how to get rid of them. If you have a carpenter bee infestation, don’t despair. There are tips and tricks you can follow to get rid of that infestation once and for all.
Identifying Carpenter Bees
First, let’s discuss identifying carpenter bees. Before you can determine how to get rid of carpenter bees around the house, you have to be sure that you are, in fact, dealing with carpenter bees. Because of the loud buzzing sound that they make and their large appearance, carpenter bees can be easily mistaken for bumblebees.
However, one common distinction is that, unlike bumble bee insect, carpenter bees are usually black. They are often seen hovering near the wood, which is most likely an active site for the bees. In other words, if you see a lot of large, black, loud bees hovering around a certain area of your deck, you may have an infestation.
Why are carpenter bees drawn to wood? They like to bore into or chew through wood structures to find a suitable place to lay their eggs. They don’t eat the wood; rather, they excavate it in the process of creating a nesting site. Like carpenter ants, they often leave wood shavings in their wake. Once you’ve verified that you are indeed observing carpenter bee activity, you can determine how to get rid of carpenter bees, including how to get rid of the carpenter bees’ nest.
Male vs. Female Carpenter Bees
Male carpenter bees do not have stingers. Nevertheless, they do behave rather aggressively when defending a nesting area. They often utilize the “dive bomb” technique, where they swoop down at you to try to deter you from encroaching upon the active area. Female carpenter bees, however, are capable of stinging. However, they rarely sting humans, unless they sense imminent danger. A carpenter bee sting is quite painful and often causes a powerful allergic reaction. Thankfully, female carpenter bees are typically shy and not at all aggressive, making carpenter bee stings rare.
Unlike other species, carpenter bees are what are considered to be “solitary” creatures. This means that instead of living in massive hives with thousands of drones, larvae and a queen, each female carpenter bee tends to have her own nest.
As a result, if you observe hovering carpenter bees, you will not see the same kind of numbers as if you were looking at the activity surrounding a wasp’s nest or hornet’s nest. This can be both a good and a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
While you may not find massive, thriving nests, what you may find is a network of several, active nests throughout your property. If every female bee has her own nesting site, then it is quite possible that your property has several indoor and outdoor vulnerabilities that the bees have exploited. Once there is a carpenter bee infestation, there are multiple targets that you must locate and eliminate in order to get the situation under control.
Meanwhile, the longer the nesting sites exist, the more extensive the damage to your property becomes. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you determine how to get rid of the carpenter bees’ nest before the situation gets out of control.
Why Carpenter Bees are Harmful
As previously mentioned, carpenter bees are excellent pollinators and play a vital role in the environment. That said, they belong outside and away from houses, decks and other wooden structures. Why? Because they cause extensive damage.
Carpenter bees chew through wood in order to create a space to lay their eggs. These egg-laying sites are sometimes called galleries. The bees can leave extensive tunnels inside the wood over time. This degrades the overall quality of your wood, causing extensive structural damage over time. This can also create an entryway for other pests to infiltrate your home.
It can also attract predators that feed on carpenter bees, such as woodpeckers, the likes of which can cause even more wood damage. Any pest that causes structural wood damage needs to be eliminated right away, which is why it is imperative that you determine how to get rid of carpenter bees.
A full-blown carpenter bee nest inside your home can be even more problematic, causing additional structural damage, as well as allowing aggressive, large bees to make themselves right at home inside your house. If you see small, circular holes bored in your wood with wood shavings or dust at the opening, that is a major indicator of carpenter bee activity. This is especially true if you have also seen carpenter bees hovering near the active site.
Later on in this article, how to get rid of carpenter bees around the house, how to get rid of carpenter bee nests and how to get rid of hovering carpenter bees will be discussed in more detail.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees: Wood Treatment
There are several approaches to getting rid of carpenter bees. The first, and most obvious, is to take away their potential nesting site. Carpenter bees are not interested in all wood; they are drawn to soft, untreated wood that they are able to chew through. Specifically, they prefer cypress, cedar, redwood, and pine.
Weathered, porous woods are ideal because they are even easier for the bees to chew. Pressurized wood, painted wood, stained and sealed wood are all much more difficult for carpenter bees to chew through. So, a simple first step in how to get rid of carpenter bees is to take the time to treat your wood so that it is not so porous and vulnerable to attack.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bee Nests
Another way to get rid of carpenter bees is to eliminate their nests. There are several approaches on how to get rid of carpenter bee nests. Unlike other species, carpenter bees do not have huge hives with thousands of bees living inside of them. Rather, they are considered solitary bees. This is because each female carpenter bee tends to have her own nest.
Therefore, the number of bees that swarm around, excavate and live near each nest is greatly reduced. This makes eliminating the nest somewhat easier. Nevertheless, it is still recommended that you always err on the side of caution. Wear protective gear and only attempt to eliminate the nest at night, when the nesting area is likely to be less active.
One approach is to spray an insecticide directly into one of the openings in the wood where you have observed carpenter bee activity. The insecticide should kill the bees inside the wood and the nesting area. Next, all of the holes created by the bees need to be plugged or patched. This prevents further carpenter bee activity from occurring and protects your wood from further damage.
Another approach on how to get rid of carpenter bees around the house is to buy specialized traps. These traps, designed specifically for eliminating carpenter bees, can be purchased at hardware stores or online. They release a powerful attractant that draws out the carpenter bees and kills them. They are unable to escape the trap.
Additionally, a powerful pheromone is released which sends a chemical message to the other carpenter bees that attract them to the trap. This is an incredibly effective method of getting all of the carpenter bees in one place and eliminating them.
How to Get Rid of Hanging Carpenter Bees
You may have observed several carpenter bees hanging, or flying around a particularly active site. If there is a nest inside your house, you will undoubtedly see hanging carpenter ants inside your home, which is, of course, unacceptable. One way to get rid of hanging carpenter bees is to utilize a powerful spray or duster. Because the bees may immediately sense that they are under attack, they may respond aggressively.
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you exercise caution when spraying hanging carpenter bees. Additionally, be sure to select an insecticide specifically intended to kill carpenter bees. The correct chemical insecticide instantly kills the carpenter ants on contact. As always, read the directions carefully and wear the appropriate protective gear, including eye protection. Do not use an insecticide in the presence of animals or children, and never leave food out in the open in the same area in which you are spraying.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees: Professional Services
If the other methods listed above have been ineffective, or if you simply want to hire an expert to get the job done right the first time, do not hesitate to contact a pest control professional to get rid of carpenter bees inside your home. Pest control experts have the knowledge, expertise, tools, and equipment that are often needed to eradicate an advanced infestation.
With carpenter bees, there is often more than one nesting site. This can mean that there is advanced carpenter bee activity inside and outside your home, causing extensive damage, and becoming increasingly more difficult and problematic to eliminate. Pest control professionals have access to powerful insecticides that will kill the bees instantly. They also will take preventative measures to reduce the risk of future infestations.
It is important to note that many homeowners are not comfortable with getting rid of hanging carpenter bees on their own. As previously mentioned, male hanging carpenter bees can be quite aggressive. While they may not be able to deliver a powerful, painful sting like a hornet or a wasp, they will dive-bomb you if they feel threatened.
Enough activity on behalf of the males may cause the normally docile female carpenter bees to get involved. Unlike the males, the females do deliver a powerful, painful sting if provoked. Rather than dealing with aggressive, dive-bombing males and stinging females, it is often considered a safer option to hire a professional to eliminate hanging carpenter bees.
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees in Your Home
There are several ways to get rid of carpenter bees. This may involve treating your wood in order to make it unappealing and more difficult for the bees to burrow through. This prevents them from tunneling through the wood in order to create a nesting site.
Next, chemical insecticides can be sprayed directly into the holes in order to target the active site or sites. This kills the carpenter bees on contact. There are also residual insecticides which can be applied to prevent future infestations. This is certainly a powerful and effective approach to get rid of carpenter bees.
Any and all holes that the bees have created during the tunneling process need to be plugged or patched to ward off future carpenter bee activity. Another option is to use carpenter bee traps. The traps use chemicals to lure the bees into a secure area from which they cannot escape. The bees are killed on contact. Pheromones, which are powerful attractants, are released, to lure any additional bees into the enclosed area of the trap. This is a great way to get rid of carpenter bees inside your home.
Finally, a great way to get rid of carpenter bees once and for all is to retain a pest control professional. Perhaps you’d rather not deal with a carpenter bee infestation yourself. Or maybe you want to ensure that the job is done right the first time. Whatever the case may be, living with carpenter bees in your house is certainly an untenable situation.
Pest control professionals will make sure that any and all active sites are taken out of commission. Additionally, they will use preventative measures. Treatments such as applying residual sprays and other similar treatments, to ensure that future infestations do not occur.
No matter what method you use, remember, you are not defenseless against carpenter bees.