Log & Cedar Home Maintenance – Carpenter bees

by: A PLUS Pressure Washing

Carpenter bees, also known as wood-boring bees, are mostly known by their ability to literally drill through wood surfaces. In fact, the holes they drill are almost always a perfect circle measuring from 3/8 to a half an inch in diameter. You may notice coarse sawdust that is present beneath the entry hole, and you may even be able to hear burrowing sounds from within the wood.

There are nearly 730 species of carpenter bees, and they live anywhere where woody plants and wood structures are plentiful. These amazing wood-boring bees resemble bumble bees, except that the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black (the abdomen of the bumble bee is hairy and has at least a few yellow markings). The adult carpenter bee is one half to one inch in length, making it larger than a bumble bee. Male carpenter bees are recognized for having a yellow face and interestingly they lack stingers, while female carpenter bees have black faces and are able to

Male carpenter bees will often spend hours a day guarding their territory and nests against other males. Besides that and mating, this appears to be their primary roles. It is the female carpenter bee that is the culprit of the holes you are seeing in your log or cedar home. After mating, she bores the holes for the sole purpose of egg-laying. The hole the female carpenter bee bores leads to a tunnel that is usually about ¾ inch in length. She then makes a 90 degree turn and bores another tunnel that is generally six inches in length, but since the tunnels can be reused they can be up to six feet in length over time. Though she prefers bare and unpainted wood, we’ve seen them bore through painted, stained, pressure-treated, and pesticide-treated wood. As unbelievable as it sounds, we’ve even seen them bore through chinking to get to wood. Carpenter bees are open-faced flower pollinators, and the female bee uses the pollen she gathers to make her nests. Carpenter bees do not ingest wood, instead they use the chewed wood bits to make partitions between the cells in their nests. Each tunnel can hold up to eight or nine larvae.

Outside of the obvious damage done by the holes bored by carpenter bees, which can weaken your home’s structure over time, the exposed holes allow moisture and other wood-boring insects and woodpeckers, to begin wreaking havoc on your home. In fact, woodpeckers will peck even larger holes into the log or siding of your home in order to eat carpenter bees and their larvae. It is the woodpecker damage that is the most detrimental effect of carpenter bees.

Pesticides can be used as a deterrent since carpenter bees appear to be sensitive to certain odors and tastes. However, the bees do not ingest wood, any pesticides that are applied to the outer wood surface are not ingested by the carpenter bees and therefore are not effective. Plus, all it takes is one light rain to wash the pesticide away.

Some may recommend particular additives to stains and paints as a carpenter bee deterrent. However, in our sixteen years of experience in the log and cedar home business, we’ve rarely seen an additive serve as an effective way to get rid of carpenter bees.

Our recommended process for preventing further carpenter bees from boring into your log or cedar home includes first treating the existing carpenter bee holes with a powder that will kill the bees that are either coming to or leaving the holes. We will leave the holes unsealed so that any carpenter bees that enter the holes within the next couple weeks will be exterminated. We then recommend that the existing holes are sealed with a wood caulking product. Keep in mind that if the hole is filled prematurely, the carpenter bees will simply seek out other locations on your home to bore holes. We then recommend you allow us to install our bee traps around the perimeter of your home. In our years of experience with carpenter bees, we know there is only one sure way to eliminate the carpenter bee population outside of your home and that involves an ongoing method for eliminating them. We’ve designed traps that will be installed around the perimeter of your log or cedar home just behind the fascia boards. We place our traps there so that they are out of site and aren’t exposed to weather conditions. Furthermore, we’ve learned that fascia boards tend to be the place carpenter bees prefer to bore their holes in since these areas are protected from the rain. Our traps will allow bees to pick up the powder as they come and go. The powder is then carried by the carpenter bees to other bee holes and from bee to bee, and therefore serves as an effective way to eliminate your carpenter bee population. Though toxic to the bees, the powder is environmentally safe and is pet- and people- friendly.

We have over sixteen years of experience in maintaining and restoring log and cedar homes, and during that time have had quite a bit of experience dealing with our customer’s concerns with carpenter bees. We realize how much of a nuisance they can be, and we also know that it is concerning to see the damage they are doing to your log or cedar home. We want to help you. Feel free to call us for more information or for a free estimate. We look forward to hearing from you.

Log & Cedar Maintenance
by A PLUS Pressure Washing
Tel: 434-327-3210 | www.apluscleans.com
Outstanding Workmanship & Excellent Customer Service