One of the summer’s lazy pleasures is watching bees buzzing in your yard, going about their business. Not so pleasurable is finding out that some of these busy bees are busy damaging your home.
Carpenter bees are a common summertime sight on Eastern Long Island and sometimes a significant headache for homeowners. These destructive pests can do a shocking amount of damage to your home and other wood structures.
Carpenter bees are one-inch long, black and yellow insects. They resemble bumblebees, except their abdomens are shiny instead of fuzzy. Male carpenter bees have a white spot on the front of their head, while females have all-black heads. The females have stingers (and will use them when threatened), but the males do not. Males will, however, aggressively dive-bomb humans and animals that threaten their nests.
Can Carpenter Bees Destroy Your Home?
Female carpenter bees use their jaws to tunnel into wood structures. They gnaw into your window sills, railings, decks, fences, doors, trusses, overhangs, eaves, and wooden lawn furniture, building tunnels and laying eggs until the tunnels are full. Their half-inch holes weaken structures and cause unsightly damage.
Adding to the destruction, when the eggs hatch, woodpeckers may seek out the noisy, active carpenter bee larvae, further damaging the wood where the larvae live.
If you see sawdust beneath a hole in a wood structure, you may have a carpenter bee infestation. Upon close examination, you will see short tunnels into the wood, running horizontally with the grain.
How Do You Keep Carpenter Bees Away?
You can take steps to decrease the odds of carpenter bees damaging your home. Here are some carpenter bee prevention tips:
- Choose hardwoods when building or repairing wood structures. Carpenter bees prefer soft woods.
- Don’t leave wood unpainted. Coat wood surfaces with oil-based or latex paint, stain, or varnish will discourage bees.
- Choose vinyl siding. Non-wood siding isn’t attractive to carpenter bees and will help protect your home’s wood framing.
- Seal up any holes or cracks. Carpenter bees will use these as a starting point for tunneling. Don’t give them a head start.
- Cover openings with mesh screening to exclude carpenter bees and other pests from entering your home through vents, lattices, or decorative work made of wood.
- Hang a piece of “decoy” wood. Hanging a piece of dry, unpainted wood near an existing nest may draw out nesting females. The decoy can be removed, destroyed, or left alone to continue to provide an alternative home for the bees.
- Trap the bees. Build or purchase a bee trap to draw out and remove the bees.
Can An Exterminator Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees?
If you have done everything possible to prevent carpenter bees but still have a problem, it is wise to hire an experienced exterminator. You don’t need to fight these tricky pests on your own, and the team of trained professionals at Twin Forks Pest Control® is here to help. We can deal with an active infestation and treat the wood on your home to stop bees from tunneling. Contact us using our form or Southampton residents, please call (631) 287-9020, Easthampton residents, please call (631) 324-9020, and Southold residents, please call (631) 298-0500 for a consultation and free estimate.