Wood-boring bees

I'm not entirely sure if this should go here or not, but it seems to be the best fit. Anybody got any good ways to keep those big, fat wood-boring bees from boring into the house and deck? They keep making holes in my windowsills! The paint doesn't seem to bother them much, either. Ways to get rid of them/plug up the holes would also be appreciated.


MLaurent's picture

Help!!!! I've got Carpenter Bees alos. They are boring thru all the wood in my shed. I have sprayed wasp & hornet killer into the holes and 100's of bees come swarmming out and die. Then a few days later there are more bees in the same spots. you would think with all the spray on the wood it would discourage them.....

Lynn's picture

You should encourage them, not try to stop them! They're very beneficial in your garden. More on mason bees. You can plug up holes with caulk if you don't want them going into particular holes but if you have them, try putting out a "bee box" for them to nest in.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Aaron's picture

I would like to comment on this as I had the same problem, They are called carpenter bees the males have no stingers, they just hover around the nest area to protect. The females do have stingers but will seldom sting unless extremely provoked, the males will hover around you and buzz really loud this is their only defense mechanism. You can get rid of them by using a special tool that can travel up into the hole where the Drione dust is sprayed. Once that is done and it should be done at night, you just want to let the bees continue to do their thing, Once fall comes, plug up the holes with wood putty or something and this should take care of the infestation.

Sparrow's picture

I looked at the pictures, and the mason bees don't look like what I'm seeing. I think we've got carpenter bees--they look more like this, and they do leave small, perfectly round holes. I can actually hear them munching away in the windowsills, and they're what flies out when disturbed. All the wood in our trim is already painted, but they don't seem to care much! I don't really want to spray insecticides all over the house to discourage them, and I wondered if anyone had any other ideas. I don't care if they're in my garden (in fact, they very well may be beneficial there), but I don't want them damaging my house.

Renee's picture

We have an invasion of the carpenter bees here in North Georgia. They are literally eating the front porch off our house. We have tried sprays, powders, filling the holes, you name it, all in vain. Is there anyone out there who can help us get rid of them? Surely there is something? A type of paint that repells them, etc? We are at our wits end, and our porch is 12 X 64, so they have lots of wood to ruin. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Lynn's picture

I'd never even heard of carpenter bees--carpenter ANTS, you bet. Learn sumpin new ever day round here.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Sparrow's picture

If you're on the West Coast, you might not have them out there. I don't know. I never heard of the mason bees before, myself. :)

unyun's picture

I have these all around my yard (I have wood siding on my house and a wood swing set out back) and they are making holes in everything and chasing my little one away from his play areas. So I just wanted to let you what I found on the web regarding these bees.

Prevention is the main approach to managing carpenter bees. If possible, susceptible exterior parts of a building should be constructed out of hardwoods not normally attacked by the bees for nests. On all buildings, fill depressions and cracks in wood surfaces so they are less attractive. Paint or varnish exposed surfaces regularly to reduce weathering. Fill unoccupied holes with steel wool and caulk to prevent their reuse. Wait until after bees have emerged before filling the tunnels. Once filled, paint or varnish the repaired surfaces. Protect rough areas, such as ends of timbers, with wire screening or metal flashing.

Carpenter bees are generally considered beneficial insects because they help pollinate various crop and noncrop plants. Under most conditions they can be successfully controlled using the preventive measures described above. If infestation is high or risk of damage is great, insecticides may be used to augment other methods of control. To do this, treat active nests (those containing eggs, larvae, or pupae) with liquid or dust formulations of insecticides or desiccant dusts. Liquid formulations containing permethrin and cyfluthrin and dusts containing boric acid are currently labeled for use against carpenter bees. Desiccant dusts are inert dusts combined with absorptive powders (diatomaceous earth or boric acid) that destroy insects by abrading their protective outer body cover, causing them to dry out. Desiccant dusts are low in toxicity to people and animals and do not lose their effectiveness over time, so long as they do not get wet. Avoid inhaling these materials, however, because they can cause serious lung irritation.

Hope this helps you out.

Sandra's picture

Did you get any response to your request for a repellant? I enclosed patio area last year and immediately discovered that I'd provided a home and ongoing buffet for these wood boring bees. It is spring again and they are back in droves! I wonder if you have found something that works? My gut reaction is to buy a lot of fresh jalapeno peppers and smear the beams with a paste of peppers and stuff pieces of pepper in the holes. I am hoping that this would cause a nasty reaction and the bees would move on to another place. I am anxious to learn what anyone has tried that worked in getting rid of these bees.

Sparrow's picture

...but some of the suggestions in the comments look helpful! We've still got these bees, but I haven't had much time to deal with them lately. Peppers are an interesting idea, though I have no idea whether they'd affect bees or not. Good luck!

Jack's picture

from wikipedia: Carpenter bees are sometimes dissuaded from making nests in painted or stained wood. Paint is a better deterrent than stain, and bare wood is very inviting to a bee looking for a place to start a new nest. However, X. virginica will nest in almost any soft wood, particularly if it is exposed to the sun. In cases where carpenter bees persist in spite of paint, the edge of the wood can be covered with a narrow strip of flashing or screening, and painted, thus providing a physical barrier.

I'll let you know if the latter works as I'm dealing with the pesky critters too.

Kris B's picture

I was just wondering if you tried using the Jalapeno peppers, and if it worked. That is a very interesting and safe idea... Best of luck to you..

Guest's picture

Try spraying or brushing on hydraulic fluid. It will dry in about a week or two. It works

Guest's picture

1 cap full of liquid laundry detergent and a gal of water in a garden sprayer. spray into the holes then plug them. works for me. also works on other bees and wasps etc.

Turvinator's picture

I disagree. I have a home that is sided with cedar, a favorite target. Any potential benefit in my garden is far outweighed by the damage I receive. The 'bee box' is another way to attract bees. More bees beget more bee offspring, and they all know where my house is. Very destructive. The best cure is to dust them, plug the holes, and be rid of them. I often find the opportunity to use a bb gun on them as a non-chemical solution.

Guest's picture

Lol at the BB gun comment! I just let the Dogs eat them!

Easternsky's picture

I use a tennis racket...knocks them far away...for good.

Guest's picture

What in the world is a Bee box, these things bore into any wood they can find, even treated, they are very destructive, and I bring out my badminton racket each spring, and nail the females. they do make good photo subjects though.


Guest's picture

Sorry, but mason bees do not drill holes in wood. These are carpenter bees which is a different species all together.

Guest's picture

:D [quote=Lynn]You should encourage them, not try to stop them! They're very beneficial in your garden. More on mason bees. You can plug up holes with caulk if you don't want them going into particular holes but if you have them, try putting out a "bee box" for them to nest in.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor[/quote]
What planet are you on????? :D

Matt's picture

My father uses the shop vac to get rid of them. Doesn't cure the problem completely but it is somewhat effective.

Guest's picture

I bought a house and just tore down a porch because of the extensive damage done by the carpenter bees. I was amazed at the destruction! I single handedly carried a 2X10 board that was 12 feet long away from the demolition site and, out of curiosity, I inspected the damage. Using just my hands and feet, I broke the hollowed-out board in two. These bees must have bored holes for years...there were paper thin separations between tunnels and the whole porch, including the supporting posts, was an accident waiting to happen. I am just glad that it did not fall on someone. I replaced the porch with maintenance-free vinyl and aluminum...nothing exposed that the bees could come back to. Don't discount the force and persistance of these bees; they will bring your whole house down!

Guest's picture

We call them bore bees. Ours look just like bumble bees (furry and large) we have never gotten stung by them, but they have completely ruined our deck. If you have the time, try playing a little "Bee ball" We keep a tennis racket around and swing at them when they come around. Organic, and kind of fun in a sick way! And you can perfect your swing while your at it! We killed about 30 in just a few days - they were boring into our deck. Don't see anymore around lately. But you have to have the time to do it this way. We work out of our home, so it was possible for us. Hope this helps!

Guest's picture

That is just crazy, they are destroying the house and you want me to keep them for the garden....

Ken's picture

The best thing to use short of pesticides is to get some silicone caulk and fill the boring holes. Once the caulk is cured , they cannot bore back through it. The draw back to that is paint will not stick to 100% silicone caulk ,so fill the hole as much as you can and then put a wooden plug or wood putty the last halh inch of the hole. It will be a lot of work if you have a lot of them

Caz's picture

If you fill the holes with caulk you are SEALING IN the bees that are left in the tunnels by the Queen which hatch later, the bees will then simply bore a hole another way through the wood and come out some place else! If you want a wrecked deck / fence, etc, do what Ken says. If you want them gone, which means spraying fine grained powder into the tunnels, then either hire a professional or google how to kill them. The powder is then sealed into the tunnels with wood filler to keep it in there, the bees hatch, touch the powder and die. If they make it out a different way, they will still die. Also, Lowes and home Depot sell a spray with a longish nozzle that you can buy specifically labeled for Carpenter Bees - spray that in the tunnels and you will see the Queen limp out a few minutes later and die. If you don't watch the holes, you'll find corpses under the tunnel the next day! Whatever you do, don't just seal the tunnels - the babies are waiting to hatch in there and they don't need the tunnels to get out, they are perfectly capable of making new ones!

Guest's picture

[quote=Lynn]You should encourage them, not try to stop them! They're very beneficial in your garden. More on mason bees. You can plug up holes with caulk if you don't want them going into particular holes but if you have them, try putting out a "bee box" for them to nest in.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor[/quote]

-Really? Let's not let the love of nature cloud our thinking on this one! Sure, I can come up with something optimistic and positive to say about anything...but bees? What if they have kids? You want them to be able to freely play on the deck, and so on. The wood bees at my home are horrible and they just hover on my patio! I can't even water my plants! Sometimes I feel like they try to hover because I try to kill them so much....lol.

Caz's picture

}:) Carpenter bees will simply bore a hole OUT of a bee box - they bore tunnels through wood.

What you NEED to do is - call your pest control person, or if you don't have one, get one! They will spray powder into the holes and it will kill the Queen in there and then they will seal the holes and as the larvae hatches the powder will kill them too.

You cannot simply seal the holes even if you killed the Queen - the bees will hatch and bore their way out another way - which means more damage to the wood structure.

The male Carpenter bees will still be buzzing around, but they don't make the tunnels.

NEXT, move any and ALL flowering plants from around the wood they are attacking - bees need pollen, so if you have tons of flowers by your deck then they will come for those flowers. Move them to an area well away from your house, then you don't have to be bee killers - we have trees at the end of our yard, the bees seem to have moved on to live in a fallen tree down there. This way they can keep pollenating things but don't come near the house.

We also painted our deck where they were attacking it - white - and the males came back the next spring but couldn't find any holes or tunnels.

So far, no bees in 2013!

Guest's picture

[quote=Lynn]You should encourage them, not try to stop them! They're very beneficial in your garden. More on mason bees. You can plug up holes with caulk if you don't want them going into particular holes but if you have them, try putting out a "bee box" for them to nest in.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor[/quote]

You are an idiot. When you spend so much time & money putting up structure s, the last thing you want is a bunch of bees digging into the wood. How retarded are you???

Guest's picture


Who's the idiot here? Your ignorance is mind blowing. Mason Bees ( genus Osmia)are hugely beneficial insects (we would not have any apple crops without them) and a TOTAL DIFFERENT species from the Carpenter Bees (genus Xylocopa) that are causing the damage. Mason Bees use already existing holes. (Carpenter Bees are the once cutting their own and causing you damage..and they are very minor pollinators)

Have you ever eaten an apple? A peach? Pear? ANY FRUIT? anything not a grain (wind pollinated).

Well you have bees to thank for it. 2 of every 3 mouthfulls of food you eat is thanks to bees like the Mason Bee.

Stop flinging names and grow up.

Denis Logan's picture

I found a great site that address this very well, and even came with a video. Theing is of course I went back to the compurte and can't find it again. But some good information I remener, is the man mixed up a paste with a posion that starts with "P", it is used to treat lice in youe hair and scalp, so in harmless to the touch for us. If the bees just touched it they would die pretty shortly even if they left the nesting hole. Now in order to plug the hole you have to do this at the right time, when the bees are out of the hole. After the eggs hatch and the babbys leave the nest it is mt for a time, but they will come back in cooler weather and nest for the winter. If you seal them in the wood they will eat their way out, and the cycle will continue. I think I have aquired the proper device to inject the butter/paste into the holes, it will have to be thin enough to be able to squirt but thik enough to adhear. Best of louk if you are able to expand on my infoemation hope you will sare that with me and others. THANKS to EVERYONE.

Guest's picture

The only thing I've found to get rid of these bees is spraying the area with disel fuel. Be careful though since disel fuel is very flammable. Multiple cans of Raid are no good and expensive.

Georgia Girl's picture

I heard that used sheets of Bounce will keep bees away and thought what the heck, I'll try anything. They worked wonderfully with wasps and yellow jackets but have had NO effect on keeping the carpenter bees away. I guess we'll just avoid the front porch until next month (I was glad to read that they usually a problem only in March and April)

NoBeesPlease's picture

Bounce sheets sounded like the simpliest easiest solutions, so I stapled five or six of them to the two by four right by the boring holes... no luck, but was so worth the try!
I put four out of my misery. Only four but am going to get wd-40 tomorrow!

Trouble's picture

These bees have been visiting me everytime I work in my vegetable garden. I notied a perfectly drilled hole in oneof my posts and thought it may have been done by the person who put the fence up last year. Today I saw sawdust on my potato plants and looked in the hole - only to see the fat bee bobbing it's little head around in the hole watching me. THey actually hang around me as I'm working as if watching me - very strange and annoying.

I'm reading these posts and also articles about the collapse of bee colonies and am thinking that I may need these bees to pollinate my garden. I noticed we did not have the normal amount of bees on our 3 apple trees that just blossomed and if these guys pollinate, then I don't want to kill them. I do hope they stay away from the house, but just a thought - with the large loss of the bee population, if you don't have to kill these guys (if they're not eating your home that is ), maybe we want to keep them around? I've been trying to look for info on this - nothing specifically adressing this problem found.

Rita's picture

I wanted to share that plugging up the holes with caulk and then painting with outdoor deck paint (heavy duty stuff) has helped our carpenter bee problem. They seem to have given up on chewing my porch. =)

I also noticed that my homemade cleaning solution seems to keep them away (it may be toxic to them?). I try to avoid harsh chemicals, especially in my home, so I've been cleaning with a solution of 1:1 vinegar and water, plus a dash of baking soda, in a spray bottle.

I'd love to hear if others have the same results. Godspeed and blessings!

Guest's picture

TY people, for the valuable info. My porch was drilled this year by the fat fuzzy bees. I had never seen a nest hole before, though I have seen fat fuzzy bees locally in EH,CT for years. I am currently researching bee disambiguation to find a reason for not having seen such holes before. Regarding the idea of dishsoap...a theory to look up is the relativity to effects of dishsoap on ants as it dissolves the waxy coating on their exoskeleton thus leaving the insect more susceptible to water, another theory is the interference of pollen and pheromone usage. Pheromones assist bees with identification and a home without food and BeeCologne might not be as enticing to their former occupants. I have only seen two holes and one bee, heard others that I could not entice out of one of the nests with a flexible stick. Though they buzzed appx 8 inches deep in the tunnel they would not exit. Regular bee and wasp ”killer” inserted with a stick did not result in a visually confirmed kill after 30 minutes of poking they stopped buzzing. I shall use a variety of methods to nip the infestation in the bud... I have a drill, a sawzall, a HomeDepot, isopropyl and a lighter... Our kind shall prevail.

Guest's picture

Hi Everyone. I am on the prowl for an effective treatment to prevent the wood bees from devouring my Mom's home (it is made of cedar wood). She used the services of Terminex (bug control people) for over a year, but they are still eating away her home. Does anyone have a helpful remedy? Thanks so much.

Bowhuntercamp's picture

We are putting new siding on the clubhouse of an outdoor archery range. There are thousands of carpenter bees in this place, and we're trying to get rid of them. Bee spray only aggrivates them, and doesnt't kill them. No idea where they are boring..maybe the rafters, which are closed in. Any suggestions??

Guest's picture

If you can hit them. WD40 will drop them on the spot.

Guest's picture

I have a hillbilly friend that says the only way to rid yourself of these pests is to used transmission fluid and treat your wood. Mixing the oil into oil based stain is not a problem. Spray directly onto wood surfaces that can be done without sacrifice to the beauty of the structure. He swears by it and so far I see results.

Guest's picture

These things are a pain, aren't they?

Here's what I did...I used Sevin dust, on the recommendation of some website I found, and applied it with a dust sprayer. I don't see the exact duster I used, but here's one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BX4R8W/ref=cm_rdp_product_img

The way I applied it was, I got a piece of aquarium tubing and taped it into the nose of the duster. That way, I could put the tubing way into the bee's hole and spray the dust far up into the chambers, which are quite extensive and serve as nurseries for the little buggers.

I then took some dowels and cut them into small pieces (I used pruning shears, since I don't have a saw) and used carpenter's glue to plug up the holes with them.

It was a lot of work, and required a ladder, but it took care of the bees quite well for a few years...they're back now, but at least it worked for a while.

flhtci's picture

Well, after almost accusing my kid of drilling the underneath of a step to the deck (made from PT wood btw) I decided to take a closer look, a 3/8" perfectly round hole. I plugged it with caulk. Two days later the caulk was on the ground and more sawdust. I grabbed Wasp & Hornet spray and removed the step. I turned it upside-down investigating the hole, when a carpenter bee started to emerge. Sorry, but for the benefit of my son and dog, the bee didn't make it out alive.
Because I'm the inquisitive type, I poured water in the hole to see how much it would take, more than I imagined, at least 1.5 ounces. I drained it and filled it with some of my carpenter's urethane wood glue (cures when it reacts with water) and plugged the hole with a 3/8" plastic cap.

s818jt's picture

For those of you interested in exercising, I have heard of frustrated people buying badminton rackets, and when the bees are active swat at them. There is also a battery-opearted racket that might electrocute the bees. Just be careful not to hit yourself, others or pets as the electrical jolt is pretty intense.

Guest's picture

Love it, hilarious and brilliant idea!

boring bee's picture

They are a nusance.. we are painting underneath of our deck blue thinking the boring bees would stay away. will guess what they are back and still drilling for more wood.. i hate those things. we are staining the deck thinking they would not like the stain.. that has not stopped them we swat at them with a broom knock them down and step on them. they are fast.!!

Lori1960's picture

I have Boring Bees (Carpenter Bees) that have made their nest under my deck. I cannot get to them, as the deck is close to the ground. I can see where they are going in and out from, but cannot see the holes that they are surely burrowing into my deck boards. What can I do to drive them away so that they wont come back??? Last weekend my grand daughter was stung by one of them, and we would like to utilize the deck....HELP!!!!

Guest's picture

I haven't tried all of these interesting solutions yet but so far bee spray seems to be killing them. I've had these "bumble" like bees for several years now and never put two and two together. I could never understand why they were hanging around my deck as I don't have a garden or even any hanging plants. I couldn't figure out what in the world was making the perfectly round holes in my deck or where all the sawdust was coming from. I thought it was carpenter ants or even a wild animal. But this year I watched closely and actually saw the bees going in and out of the holes. So I grabbed a can of bee spray and hit each hole with it. Several hours later there were many dead and dying bees on the deck. That's when I decided to google them as I did't really believe there was such a thing. But of course there is! I do think they start in the spring but it's late July here in VA and they're still going strong. Hopefully spraying the holes every few days with the bee spray will kill them all and then I can try the steel wool and caulking solution. It's a relief just to know what has been doing this so hopefully I can now get rid of them once and for all!

Dory's picture


Cotton balls
Duct Tape
Needle & syringe-holds 3 cc( can be purchased at any drug store. Make sure the needle is about 2" long.
Ammonia....any household will do.
Rubber gloves

In the late evening, push cotton into hole. Amount: 2 small or one large.
I used the 'cover' for the needle to push. It's a perfect size.

TAPE a piece of Duct Tape over the opening.

Load syringe with 2cc of Ammonia. KEEP FACE AWAY FROM UNDERNEATH THE OPENING
Insert needle through duct tape into cotton and disperse ammonia.

NEXT DAY: You may see a 'hole' in the tape, cotton on the ground and bodies of perpetrators.

A funeral is up to you.

My carpenter bees are now living with their ancestors.

Sam's picture

I have a major carpenter bee problem. We had a pest control company come out several times to spray. I kept on explaining to them that they needed to use delta dust.
Finally they used the delta dust this past saturday. About 50 bees fell out of the 2 holes that they could reach.

I understand that they are good for gardens but they have damaged the front of my house. We still have not gotten rid of them. The owner of the company is coming out today to look at our problem. He does not think that they are carpenter bee. But they are, and now we have to take the siding and the metal fascia off to find the other nests.

Fill the holes with steel wool, wood paste (Not sure what it's called) and than paint. Research online there are a lot of good sites out there. Once they have taken over it's very hard to get rid of them, trust me!!!!!!!!!!!

My advise to you is if your carpenter bee problem is as bad as mine "DO NOT" ignore it. I do not want to kill bees but if it means saving my house than they are as good as dead.

susie30528's picture

I had a problem with these all summer and am trying to find a way to prevent infestation next year. At gardeners.com they have very attractive mason bee houses - I was thinking that if provided with their own home, they might leave mine alone. However, I think that mason and carpenter bees are two different creatures. Has anyone tried this approach with carpenter bees?

Guest's picture

To kill current nests (those in the holes) use one of the products you can find online. To prevent future problems a very effective repellent is Cuprinol (originally used as a wood preservative and rodent/insect repellent in wooden boat hulls).

Dee Richards's picture

Our house has been effectively destroyed by Carpenter Bees. For 5 years, we have sprayed, dusted, plugged and netted with moderate success. After they returned again this year in record numbers, I got busy looking for another answer. I found videos on YouTube about 'bee butter'. The site is www.carpenterbeesolutions.com. No I don't work for them but they just got $100 from us for 3 traps and 3 syringes of bee butter. With the severity of our infestation, the traps probably don't stand a chance at this point; however, the bee butter is working great! Just a little blob into the hole and when the bee enters or exits they get covered with this stuff and fall to the ground dying. It has Permethrin-10 mixed up as a firm gel. You could probably do the same thing with petroleum jelly mixed with the dust (or other bee killer). Once the jelly gets on them they can't get it off. Our population is down by over half in three days. In the morning (before the bees wake up) we will get the spots higher on the wall.
I would love it if this site could sell a refill or have a better quantity discount because shipping is a lot. Personally, I really would rather get it already mixed up in the syringe. For someone with new infestation the traps may work. We caught a few 'seed bees' with a net and put them in one of the trap bottles. So far, that is the only one that has caught a bee.
Best advise. Get them early and plug the holes. We bought our house with this damage. Between the bees and the woodpeckers we are looking at replacing all of the outside wood (from top to bottom). Might as well replace the roof at the same time!

Guest's picture

Here is what I found out. I too have had problems. They are really fond of cider. go here and your questions should be answered http://doyourownpestcontrol.com/carpenter_bees.htm

Guest's picture

We had carpenter bees two summers ago but this year they have returned to feast on my back patio. We witnessed one bee going to the hole so my husband got a 6" twig and wound it the hole. Th entire was in the hole. We had no idea that the hole was more than just a hole. Through our own ignorance, we plugged up the whole and we could hear the bee buzzing in the wood. We are waiting to see if it bores another hole to get out. I am going to try to amonia and cotton ball trick to drive the bee(s) out and see if that works.

Lisa Lumpkin's picture


tamy's picture

I have been reading all the problems and solutions reguarding the little buggers! Ours are drilling holes in an old part of our fence right next to the pool! I am discovering that this could become a big problem. So we better get on this quick. I have only seen one or two bees. But evertime I go by the pool he or she comes out and flies around me and it's scary... Kids won't swim even. I don't want to kill them but I don't know what else too do! Does anyone know if i should do it knpw or wait till they leave.. Or do they leave!

jake26554's picture

I found out by accident some years ago that a brake cleaner called Brakleen affects carpenter bees nervous system and kills them instantly. If a carpenter bee enter into a mist of Brakleen, or is sprayed in flight with Brakleen, it will die. Spraying the wooden posts where the carpenter bees have been eating will keep them away.

David V. Webber's picture

They were in the under side of my new Spruce Picnic Table .
I just sprayed WD - 40 in , and they came right out and died !
Then , I plugged the holes with the right - size wooden plugs .
I will keep a look - out for any future ones . The WD - 40
had a nice , long , red tube to esily get the spray in the hole .


Teresa  R's picture

what happens if u spray wd-40 on rafters and u have fire wood below? Will the fire wood be burnable come winter?

wildviolets101's picture

Brakleen DOES work to kill them, but this is going to sound silly, but we talk to the ones we have here, YEP, just talk to them.. :jawdrop: lol, no I am not insane..lol...we just tell them to go away from where we are and not to bore into the wood, they seem very intelligent, and heed our warnings to stay away, I told you it sounds silly, but darn, they listen..lol :) I hate to kill any insects that could be beneficial, but tearing apart your home is not a good thing either...so try anything that works, even talking to them ; )

Guest's picture

I got a product called Viper that contains Cypermethrin. You
just spray the wood once per year. Works great. You can find it
online if not locally.

Guest's picture

I just did the WD40 treatment--cheap and readily available. They will not return to those holes. the long flex tube tip works great. Soaks into the wood, especially in the tunnels.
They attacked my split rail cedar deck balistrades--about 20 holes in a week. They avoided the rails that i treated earlier this spring.
I think that the nastiest, oil-based wood preservative (contains poisons to kill mold, fungus) would work best. I tried to find Cuprinol to use, or add to my Australian Timber Sealer but I couldnt find it in a store--you can order it. google cuprinol. I may add some hydraulic fluid or tranny fluid,per previous suggestions, to the sealer before I do the rest of the railings--couldnt hurt.
For those of you losing your porches/houses, I suggest 2 things--
First spray your wood down with a good oil-based wood preservative (garden sprayer or rent a sray gun.
Second, I would go buy a couple of delicious cedar split rails (lowes or home depot has them), cut them into 2 foot lengths and put them in a jumbled pile next to your porch. I bet that the bees will prefer the raw cedar to anything else (especially if you treat your house). In two weeks have a small bonfire or throw them in the trash, and get two more new rails. I bet after a couple of months you may have eliminated your problem, or at least kept them off your house for awhile. (Maybe you have to do it continually.)
You really can hear them munching inside the wood. The males flying around outside tell you where any other holes may be that you missed.

Mark's picture

Since those "little" boogers like to eat caulking, wood filler..I made a paste out of flour and caulking...using sevin dust to mix it. Then took a putty knife and filled the holes. Dropping like ....well....flies. It's inexpensive and works. lol. Cheers. ;)

Brian  's picture

I am lucky enough to not have these bees attacking our home, but my father-in-law has them buzzing his front porch constantly. I am typically one who doesn't like to kill my fellow creatures, but these bees are annoying.

I found a badminton racket and again tried to resist the urge to start whacking these little "Bee-52" bombers, but I caved. That beefy, hovering, buzzing little shuttlecock of a bee makes a great target for honing one's badminton skills. It doesn't do much to eliminate a plague, but you can easily get 30-40 bees in one batting session.

For a frustrated home owner, it may help blow off some steam, although I doubt that it will do much to dent the population. Also, they haven't been very aggressive and typically retreat after a missed SWAT attack, so that makes me feel even better about my new racket sport.

Guest's picture

We recently had a large run of split rail fencing destroyed by carpenter bees and a small stand of red oaks destroyed by wood boring beetles. My trees are lost, and we're waiting for a visit from a forester to help us decide how to get rid of the dead trees and control the beetles. The fence is going to be replaced and I'm going to try dipping the rails and posts in a plastic lined trough filled with oil based exterior opaque stain before installing them.

I had seen a whole development of cedar homes beset by these things and the only home that wasn't attacked was one that had used this type of finish. It seems to make sense. The variety of successful hydrocarbon based solutions that are suggested here all share an ability to penetrate the wood (cellulose - which is basically a big sponge cell with permeable walls that absorb and expel moisture, et al, as the environment dictates). Many of the other suggested liquid formulations seem to share compounds (like laundry soap) that act as a kind of thinner to allow the liquid to be more readily absorbed either by the wood or the insect. I think that the VOC's in the oil/alkyd paint must do the same.

It sounds like the paint that does not deter is likely the water based latex types. These aren't necessarily bad or inexpensive paints. Quite the contrary. Home Depot's Behr Premium is an excellent, long lasting, high solids, easy to apply, cleans up with soap and water paint that I've had last 15 years looking new. The latex paints simply coat the wood with a thin film of plastic. Once the bees poke a hole in it they're free to carry on eating. With the oil based/alkyd paint, transmission fluid, diesel fuel, etc. the wood cells have absorbed the chemicals and I suppose remain toxic due to indigestability. If you've tried paint, or have painted surfaces that they've attacked, check to see which type of paint was on there before you give up and start coating your house with accelerants like diesel fuel.

Like I said, since we have split rail, and I'll be setting another couple of hundred feet this summer, painting it is a serious pain. My solution is to try a narrow trough lined with a piece of EPDM (heavy rubber like pond liner) and filled with gallons of high solids, alkyd/oil based exterior stain. This is getting harder to find in the home centers and may be impossible to get in California since most of it contains VOC's. Volatile Organic Compounds (like thinners) are what allows the paint to better penetrate the wood fibers, and then evaporate into the air as the paint dries. States with more stringent air quality controls have been trying to completely do away with VOC's (but yet their Congressmen still fly air quality killing jet loads of friends and family all over the world on our dime...but I digress). I actually found a bunch relatively cheap (about $10 a gallon) at one of the chain discounters that sell other retailers overstock and liquidations.

The dipping does use a lot of product, but I figure the more that the wood absorbs the less appetizing it will be to the bees. We have dogs and chickens that have to be contained, so the split rail is getting an overlay of welded wire fence nailed to one side as well. This makes the prospect of future paintings tremendously unappealing and tedious, so another benefit will hopefully be that it should last a lot longer. We'll see.

Also, the issues of bee colony collapse and mis-identifying bees (mason, Carpenter, Bumble, etc.) can lead to a lot of good bugs gettin' whacked needlessly - so if you don't know for sure what you're dealing with, get educated about the particulars before you start poisoning everything around you. The cure may be worse than the disease.

Thinking about the cedar buffet/bonfire idea gave me another kind of hybrid theory along those lines. We have chickens, and they love eatin' bugs. So maybe I build the lower walls of their coop, or enclose part of a run, with raw cedar sap wood boards (that's the softest stuff that they use in most fencing and it rots a lot faster than the heartwood). Wood bores eat the wood, chickens eat the borers, chicken pooh fertilizes my ground and helps grow more wood.

A guy servicing a rented track loader on our property almost ten years ago spilled about a gallon of hydraulic fluid on a patch of grass roughly a yard square. I've dug it up and replaced it, planted seeds and seeds, tried weed remediation and finally after ten years am just now beginning to see life return to that spot. Consider the consequences of everything that you do. It's always the unintended ones that end up ruling the day. Just look around at the world we live in.

Good luck to all.

Home Grown's picture

We have had carpenter bees for the past few years. we tried to whole steel wool thing and hey just moved to a new hole. We definitely have more this year. last year it seemed like we just had a pair digging in our front porch, but thia year it sound like there are dozens of them munching around. I would hate to kill them because i know how beneficial they are for my garden but if we dont stop them soon they will eat our entire house. I'm thinking I'll try the WD-40 trick because i just happen to have a can in the house. The vaseline tricks seems interesting too. I figure if they can't fly they can't munch!

Guest's picture

As far as the holes they drill. Just filling it is a mistake. You need to put diazon or some other poisen in the hole before filling it. The plant there eggs in there. When you fill them. When you see the hole again. It is the new bees boring there way out. If you put poisen in the hole and then seal it. The new wood boring bee will eat it and die in the hole.

A great way to get rid of wood boring bee's is either buy a trap or make one. My neighbor showed me one a month ago. You make a wooden box, drill a couple holes in it. Like the bees do. Insert a two liter bottle into the bottom of the box. The bees will go in the hole. The will go into the two liter soda bottle. They cannot fly back out. He has to change out the bottle every other week. He has a huge barn that was being eaten up. They now go to the bottle and don't eat his barn.

Ralph's picture

These wood boring bees have been attacking my cedar fascia for several years. This year I tried injecting urethane foam into the holes, late in the evening. The past few nights the temperature has been in the high 50’s so I am pretty sure they have been tucked deep into their cavern. I insert the nozzle as far as it will go, then while holding a paper towel against the hole and around the nozzle, I inject the foam. It is important to keep the paper towel tight to the hole nozzle keeping it there as the liquid expands. I can hear them start to buzz at the first shot of foam enters the hole, and then it stops. I realize there are eggs in the cavern, I am hopeful the foam disrupts them and they do not hatch. If this doesn't work, I'll spray some poison into the cavern before injecting the foam.

The BB gun thing is fun but this is a busy summer so, not enough time to sit on the deck and “plink-‘em”.

Rachel E's picture

I have had capenter bees every spring in a place that I could not seal up. Have tried bug spray, but didn't work. This spring I planted citranella plants in this area for mosquito control. I have not seen the carpenter bees since I planted the two citranello plants. Has there been any study on this?

kristie's picture

I think I may have a wood boring bee drilling thru the back of a glider that my grandfather made!! There is a perfectly round hole with a pile of sawdust underneath the glider. My fear is plugging the hole up with caulk would make the bee burrow farther in and cause more damage....then I'll have 2 holes etc...Any suggestions??

D.Fiedler's picture

I have 45 live oak trees in the back yard and I noticed on four of them two or more 3/8in holes. Inserted a wire and it went in about 6 inches. Talked to the County Extension agent and he said it sounds like carpenter bees. I cleaned the holes out and took my caulk gun with asphalt in it that I use to patch holes on the roof and filled up the holes. So far I have not seen anymore bees.

Guest's picture

These bees have been destroying my kids playground equipment, so here is how I handled them.I set up a hammock next to the playground, got a beer and a flipflop and then swatted them as they flew by. Killed 34 off them the first day.

buzzedboomer's picture

I have trouble with these pesky critters tooo. What works for me is white lithium spray grease. Can find at autozone or any hardware.
comes like wd=40 with a little red tube for spraying in holes. The grease sticks to them and clogs their breathing apparatis. It also makes them too heavy to fly. Then, spray with an oil base paint or if you don't care about color , they don't like silver aluminum spray paint. they''ll stay away until paint wears thin. Not sure why they don't aluminum paint. GOOD LUCK.
:) :)

TEAPartyWarrior's picture

Carpenter bees are a problem for our family. I am not sure the extent of the damage they cause. They put holes in the wood, but don't completely destory it like termintes do. If they make enough holes I suppose they can destroy the wood. We have a large garden and I don't like killing pollenators, but there seem to be enough pollenators besides these guys, so it may be time to go to war. The holes I noticed are very deep and sometimes go in two direction. I found one hole that you could poke a wire in two different direction and each direction had a bee. These bees work very fast and each season that they reuse a hole, they make it deeper.

The males chase anything that moves. Since they don't sting, my kids love catching them with their hands(only do this if they have a dot on their head). They females stay away from you, so odds are if they are flying around you they are males.

Bee slayer's picture

If you have carpenter bees and kill them....they will be back,that is guaranteed! So you either resort to a lifetime of trying to control them with various and ridiculous means or you act like a being of higher intelligence ( human) They can and will destroy parts of your house costing you $$$$ thousands of dollars...ehh a few holes don,t seem bad until if you were able to x- ray wood members especially structural ones and be able to see their labyrinths that would STUNG you! Wrap your fascia and soffit in aluminum,it will pay for its self, they don' like fiber- cement,steel, and vinyl siding.....or concrete and as for those decks hmmm there is something to be said for man made materials! Does nature always win??? How smart are you...Plug the holes with Liquid Nails( comes in caulking tube) they guys will bore out caulk,seen them do it and liquid nails will give some structural strength back,you just gotta fill the holes as full as you can get them,keep nozzle in hole for a prolonged time after you have squeezed,prepare for the back pressure to ooze some back out !

Pine,spruce,cedar,poplar is a buffet dessert

P.S. adding transmission fluid or hydraulic fluid to oil based stain or paint is a badddd idea ,it will work by just putting it on straight and no matter you will have to keep applying it....over your lifetime plus you'll be living in a toxic wasteland....

walt's picture

Making A Sport Of Bee Killing Is Time Consuming. You Start living Life By The Schedule Of A Bees Life. I Live On A Small Farm, My Structral Additions Made Out Of Softer Woods Like Spruce Or Pine Seem To Get The Worst Damage. I Will Stain The Wood In Hopes Of Detering Them. But Holes That Already Exist Will Be Caulked. I Just Wonder The Life Span Of One Bee If Trapped In The Wood Is Long Enough To Eat Through The Caulk Or Chew Their Way To Another Exit/Entrance. Maybe Get A Good Fire Policy And Burn My Structures To Replace Them With Steel Structures.

Mike from New Jersey's picture

i have been reading all the ways people have been getting rid of these pesty insects and most sound pretty good, but the one that said to change your sliding is good. I put Vinyl on my fascia boards with flashing on the back side. this took care of the fascia, but those pest started drilling into the 2x6 wood under the fascia so I brought some stuff called Corba Vent and put it behind the fascia and covering the 2x6 so they would stop drilling into the wood. just so people know what Cobra Vent is it is used on a roof when someone puts a ridge vent in the roof, it is made out of plastic. The cost is a little steep, at $57.00 for a 10" x 20' roll. I am now waiting to see what move the bees make next.........

Bee Killers's picture

First we used the electric fly swater as a tennis/bee racquet then when 90 percent were dead I use the expanding spray foam in the holes. One bee left off to hit a gome run

Johanna's picture

These pesky things are so frustrating. I have tried almost everything to kill these things. I even have an electric fly swatter that I have chased them around the yard with (I definately got my exercise for the day and can only imagine the show I gave the neighbors). Apparently even that does not kill them. I am currently abandoning all hope and getting rid of all wood on the outside of my house. Storage buildings are coming down and getting replaced with the plastic type. I don't know what to do anymore. If anyone one knows a sure way to get rid of them HELP!!! As for now I'm going outside to finish tearing down the green house (made partially of wood)

JM's picture

http://www.carpenterbeesolutions.com/ just watch his videos IT WORKS

Kristie's picture

Hello, I just want to add to my comment last year about the bee chewing through my treasured glider that my Grandpa made. It seems that what worked for me is when the bee left (with the help of my hose) I then filled it with wood putty. I've checked often and they haven't found another home anywhere else....yet.

DKFinFLA's picture

Wood-boring bees, carpenter bees, mason bees, etc. are all the same species, Xylocopa. Carpenter/mason bees in the genus, however, called Ceratina, are much smaller (1/4 inch), are dark bluish-green, and make nests in plant stems.

The adult wood-boring resemble bumble bees except they have shiny black bellies rather than orange/yellow hair. They do not eat wood like termites, but drill into wood a near perfect hole and then make a left turn to carve up to a four foot tunnel with little holes in which they lay eggs. The females gather pollen and nectar, and then feed the larvae several times a day. The males hover around the holes to protect the progeny.

The only way to get rid of the bees is to use Drione dust. The dust is sprayed into the hole, and when the female goes in to feed the larvae, she spreads the dust onto them. Eventually both she and the larvae die. Once you no longer see the male hovering, it is then safe to seal the holes, preferably with an expanding spray into the tunnel and then a wood hardener into the hole. The hardener should also be applied along the underside of the affected planks, since they will have been weakened by the bee's drilling.

These bees, by the way, only drill on the underside of wood to keep out rain. They prefer unfinished softwoods such as redwood, cypress, cedar and pine in structures for constructing nests.

Adults spend the winter in nests constructed the previous year and become active in April or May. After mating, females construct new nesting tunnels or use pre-existing tunnels. Nesting tunnels are about ½ inch wide and start on the end of wooden beams or at right angles to a surface for ½ to 1 inch before turning and following the wood grain. Tunnels are clean cut and may extend up to four feet.

Females collect pollen and nectar to produce a dough-like mass called "bee bread." Eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the bee bread in their cells. Development varies with species and temperature, but can progress from egg to adult in a little over a month. There may be two or three generations a year. Continuous generations may occur in south Texas. Adults emerging in late summer or fall do not mate until spring but may gather and store pollen in their tunnels.

Wasp and other pest sprays do not work. The area must be dusted.

SweetlySmilin's picture

The bees I have are in my barn, they are really tiny, black and yellow, they bore perfect holes about the size of regular nail. The wood they are boring into is hard oak. Nothing I have read sounds like these tiny bees. Does anyone know what they could be?

Randy Lofthouse's picture

I'm soooo ready to build a bee box! I hope they use it though. :) Was hoping would could cage or train them to willingly produce mulch for us. Not really interested in paying of many more garden supplies. Do you think these Bee Crews would Sub-Contract?

Randiana :)

K's picture

We have a wooden deck off of our family room, another one in our pool area and some wooden trim/ siding on the rear of our home. We have only been living here for 2 years and last summer I noticed numerous perfectly drilled holes scattered about these structures. I didn't even realize what the problem was until a family friend pointed out a bee entering one of these holes and told me I had crapenter bees.....I had never even heard of carpenter bees until then. It litterally sounds like the wood is alive....constant munching sounds and wood shavings everywhere. The fact that they are causing structural damage to my home far outweighs the benefits they provide to the environment.....sorry, but that's just how I feel. So, late last night, my husband and I got the ladder out and some gloves and protective eyewear out and filled the holes with cotton balls saturated with ammonia as suggested in a previous post. We used a long, metal file-type tool to ensure that we could really lodge as many cotton balls as deeply as possible into each hole. So, now we will wait and see. Checked this morning and all holes are still plugged and no mulching noises! The real work is yet to begin...permanently filling these areas and then doing some preventative maintenance, staining and such, in hopes to deter these suckers.

therews's picture

;) I found carpenter bees in a wood fence I put up last year. I googled carpenter bees and came up with this web site that has videos and clear instructions in how to get rid of them http://www.bugspray.com/article/carpenterbees.html Caulking them is not a good idea as explained at this site. They are not a "harmless" insect as they wil drill your wood to pieces or the woodpecker will help!

The Rews

[quote=K]We have a wooden deck off of our family room, another one in our pool area and some wooden trim/ siding on the rear of our home. We have only been living here for 2 years and last summer I noticed numerous perfectly drilled holes scattered about these structures. I didn't even realize what the problem was until a family friend pointed out a bee entering one of these holes and told me I had crapenter bees.....I had never even heard of carpenter bees until then. It litterally sounds like the wood is alive....constant munching sounds and wood shavings everywhere. The fact that they are causing structural damage to my home far outweighs the benefits they provide to the environment.....sorry, but that's just how I feel. So, late last night, my husband and I got the ladder out and some gloves and protective eyewear out and filled the holes with cotton balls saturated with ammonia as suggested in a previous post. We used a long, metal file-type tool to ensure that we could really lodge as many cotton balls as deeply as possible into each hole. So, now we will wait and see. Checked this morning and all holes are still plugged and no mulching noises! The real work is yet to begin...permanently filling these areas and then doing some preventative maintenance, staining and such, in hopes to deter these suckers.[/quote]

NoBeesPlease's picture

Seems... seems I have managed to evict the boring bees at my place... I noticed them a week or two ago... they seem to be gone... crossing my fingers.

I was going to use the amonia cotton ball method but tried this... first I killed 5 or 6 males... filled the holes, just with sticks... staple gunned 8 or 8 Bounce Sheets, and have watered the fence (a few times) making sure to get the underside of the wood. They like the underside as it is dry and no water goes in their homes. Will replace the Bounce today or tomorrow.

Will continue to monitor...

NoBeesPlease's picture

All seems good! Will be monitoring this summer... and next spring!

Guest's picture

They are very hard to get rid of... the holes that you do have if you want them not to come back the best thing I have found is the spray in foam... Stick the plastic wand into the hole give it a blast.... and leave it alone.... as the foam expands it will come out the hole, wait for it to completely dry snap it off at the end and they are done with that hole. It does not stop others but any in that next are history.

Guest's picture

I used Flex Seal, the stuff you use to repair gutters. It may not look great, but it worked! Just don't get it on yourself.

Caz's picture

:O I just discovered this is what is attacking my swing set (pine) - so if you see little piles of sawdust around any wooden structure, and you know you didn't do ANY work, then you have carpenter bees, which I had never heard of today. We live on the East Cost in the DC area, just in case anyone wants to keep track of areas these destructive things are attacking.

If you have a pest control maintenance contract then the pest control company will likely come out for free and spray the "dust" into the tunnels they have dug, mine is coming in two days. In the mean time they just drilled a new hole this afternoon, so fast I couldn't believe it, fresh sawdust and a big hole, so off I went to Lowes and they sell something that actually kills carpenter bees and comes with a red straw just like WD40 has and you can insert that and spray the foam into a hole and then stand back and watch these massive "bumbling bees" come out - they look like bumble bees but not quite right looking bumble bees. This stuff from Lowes is a great way to attack straight into the tubes and you can treat every perfectly round hole you can find.

Remember, these bees like to build UNDER cover, so look for holes that are on the underside, or under sloped surfaces.

They have mostly attacked our climbing wall on the underside and the underside of the roof structure.

There is a pesticide you can spray on wood to deter the bees but it apparently only works for a few weeks, and I don't want to turn the play set into a toxic wasteland.

So, does anyone have a natural rememedy?

So far, the Lowes product kills them really fast and the tube helps you to get it in the holes, but the larvae is still in there so the dust is the thing that will kill them all - then you have to fill those holes fast and on my swingset the climbing wall is gone and the other place they have bored is going to be removed too, since I know they have been known to return.

Here's a link to the product at Lowes (etc) so you'll know what the can looks like (it's around $4):


Aleena's picture

Recently i checked my house and see the same effect.Checked this morning and all holes are still plugged and no mulching noises! The real work is yet to begin...permanently car accident attorney Miami filling these areas and then doing some preventative maintenance, staining and such, in hopes to deter these suckers.

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