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Carpenter bees? How to Identify, Treat and Prevent Them

Are you awakened early when you want to sleep in by a tap-tap-tap over your window?

  • Do you see holes above your windows (and on the siding, and sometimes on your mailbox post)? 
  • Do you see yellowish dirty streaks near the holes?
  • Do you see what looks like sawdust coming out of your downspouts?

All these are signs that you have carpenter bees.

Carpenter Bee Xylocopa sp. We found this great picture on the Marietta College Biology Department Web page.

About Carpenter Bees
In the spring carpenter bees start to bore perfect round holes in which the females will deposit their eggs. They bore into unprotected or unsealed wood and use the cavity as a “nest." The sawdust coming from the hole is called “frass." They push their droppings out of the hole and they make yellowish/brownish dirty stains. And when the larvae emerge from the eggs, they make a nice chewy meal for the woodpeckers, who enlarge the holes with their pointed beaks and make an annoying noise! Below are some more pictures we found on the Marietta College Web site. They are great close-ups of carpenter bees and the round holes just described above.

What to do if you have carpenter bees
If you are brave enough, wait for nightfall, spray insecticide into the hole and plug the hole with a wooden dowel, then seal. This could be difficult because they make their holes in high places, like the soffits or the eaves. A better (and safer!) solution would be to call a pest management company. The treatment is usually fairly inexpensive unless you have a really severe infestation.

How to Prevent an Infestation
Make sure your wood soffits, fascia, eaves, trims, and siding are either painted or sealed with varnish. It is worth spending extra money for paint that has been treated with insecticide. Re-paint if needed in early spring and check for holes. Bees tend to come back to their old nesting grounds. This next picture was found on WhatsThatBug.com.

Read More on Our Web Site! Insights: Carpenter Bees

Check out the sites where we found the great pictures for today's post!
Marietta College, WhatsThatBug.com.