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Illinois carpenters are known for carefully crafting beautiful and useful wood structures, but carpenter bees are known for ruining them with equal passion. If your gorgeous new wood deck suddenly develops a mysterious, perfectly round hole, check the rest of your home’s wooden structures for holes and small piles of sawdust. If more signs are present, you may have a substantial carpenter bee infestation. Learn how to combat this destructive pest.

Nature’s Demolition Crew: Bee Division

The carpenter bee is a relatively large black and yellow bee that may be mistaken for a bumble bee. You can differentiate the species by their appearance. Their abdomens are shiny and solid black instead of fuzzy. Although they look intimidating, the male carpenter bee has no stinger, and the female is unlikely to sting unless provoked. As their name suggests, these bees love to drill holes and tunnel into wood structures, which they use as nests. The carpenter bee hibernates during the winter. But with the weather turning, stay on the lookout for male bees, who are out foraging while females start building their nests by deconstructing your property.

What Kind of Damage Does the Carpenter Bee Cause?

The carpenter bee prefers to nest in soft, unpainted wood. Treated lumber is less likely to be affected. Pine, cypress and cedar are popular targets. Wood structures such as fascia boards, wood siding, porch ceilings, window trim, decks, and wooden swing sets are at risk. A few holes are probably no reason to panic; the bee doesn’t quickly or systematically demolish structures like termites and carpenter ants do. However, cumulative damage over years leads to larger numbers of tunnels, and this can cause several problems. Structural weakness is a possibility, and this can be enhanced if the bee tunnels become infiltrated by moisture, which will rot the wood. Cosmetic problems caused by visible holes and stains from bee feces can be considerable. If you have a large number of nesting bees, the sounds that they make can entice woodpeckers to visit and add their own horrible carpentry skills to the mix.

Tips for Preventing Carpenter Bee Damage

  • Choose hard or treated lumber for projects whenever possible.
  • Finish lumber with several thick coats of varnish or paint.
  • Cover wood structures with vinyl, masonry or fiber cement.
  • Place wooden items in shaded areas.
  • Fill visible holes and cracks.

If carpenter bees become a serious problem, professional pest control is your best solution. At Anderson Pest Solutions, we provide effective, environmentally friendly pest control to keep Illinois homeowners and businesses safe from wood-boring insects and other pests. Contact us to schedule an inspection or obtain more information.

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