Technical Papers

Carpenter Bees: The OTHER Wood Destroying Insect

Friday, April 3rd, 2020 by Bill Cowley

Carpenter Bees 2

Carpenter bees are solitary, wood-destroying pests but they don’t eat wood like termites do. They can be intimidating just by their size but are typically harmless, just not to your home! Like carpenter ants, carpenter bees can cause significant property damage, as the female bees drill perfectly circular ½-inch diameter holes into fascia boards, porches, decks, siding, sheds, and other wooden structures. While the female creates a tunnel to nest, the male acts as a sentry protecting the female and nest. Those are the ones that dive bomb you, but can't really do anything since they have no stinger. The females can sting but only does so if threatened. 

Carpenter bees look similar to bumblebees in appearance, but they lack yellow markings on their abdomens. Instead, carpenter bee abdomens are smooth and shiny, whereas bumblebees’ have hairy, yellow abdomens. The most common signs of a carpenter bee infestation are the round, smooth holes that carpenter bees bore into wood, the piles of sawdust (“frass”) near where they are digging, and the yellow excrement stains on the wood below their holes.