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Carpenter Bees

There’s a lot of buzz about bees these days (pun intended). What most of us don’t know, however, is that there are more than 20,000 species of bees in existence. Living on every continent except Antarctica, there’s a lot to know about bees. In Illinois alone, there are approximately 400 to 500 species of native bees.

We often think of bees as living in hives with lots of other bees. But if you’ve noticed a few bees consistently buzzing around the wooden parts of your home, but haven’t found a hive, you might be dealing with Carpenter Bees. These are solitary bees that build and care for their own nest. Sometimes referred to as “wood bees,” they create their homes by burrowing into wood.

Although they burrow in wood, they do not eat it. Carpenter bees eat nectar and play a role in pollination. Carpenter bees are actually considered a key pollinator because they gather pollen and nectar for their larvae, in turn cross pollinating other plants.

As pollinators, carpenter bees are very beneficial to the environment, so it’s always best to leave them alone if you can. That being said, you don’t want them to damage your home, either. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to get your carpenter bee problem under control. Here are some suggestions to control carpenter bees:

  1. Pour some drops of almond oil in the holes. Carpenter bees cannot tolerate the smell and will find a new home. Once they have evacuated their home, make sure to patch the hole with chalk or putty, or even steel wool.
  2. Paint or stain the surface of the exposed wood on your home. (Painting is better.) Carpenter bees prefer untreated wood. Note: It’s a good idea to treat your wood with a paint or varnish that creates a slick surface that carpenter bees have trouble latching onto.
  3. Replace your soft wood with hardwood, vinyl, or aluminum. If it continues to be a problem, consider replacing the problem area. Carpenter bees prefer soft wood and are deterred by hard woods such as mahogany, maple, oak and teak.

Give our Pearson Pest experts a call at 815.398.8312 for questions about all your pest problems!

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