Dealing With Carpenter Bees

If you spot a large bee buzzing around your home that looks like a shiny bumblebee without its fuzz, it's probably a carpenter bee. Here are some tips for preventing carpenter bee damage.

Bee

Carpenter bees can cause significant damage to wooden houses or decks.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Pavel Kirillov

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If you spot a large bee buzzing around your home that looks like a shiny bumblebee without its fuzz, it's probably a carpenter bee.

Carpenter bees may want to share your home sooner or later if you have a wood house or a wood deck. Females bore half-inch-wide holes into wood and then excavate a burrow to raise their young, often reusing old nests year after year.

Extension entomologists agree that the best way to prevent carpenter-bee damage is to keep wood surfaces painted (stains don't deter them nearly as well). Some people have good luck plugging bee entry holes with aluminum window screening held in place with duct tape. After a few weeks, remove the duct tape and fill the hole with wood putty.