What damage can carpenter bees do? This guide discusses the types of harm, as well as repair options available when you face this problem.
The only set of little pest that delights in doing the work of a carpenter is Carpenter bees- they are not wood eaters or woodpeckers, they are carpenters.
Are Carpenter Bees Destructive?
Carpenter bees are pests that are named for the sake of their love for the living in carved woods. They got their names because of the carpentry work they do on woods while trying to make it as habitable as possible.
They usually drill perfectly round holes into woods of about ½ an inch or a diameter to make a place they can call home.
The female carpenter bee has a stinger, unlike the male but she won’t sting unless she is defending herself. What she does with her sharp teeth is to excavate a perfectly round hole. She could also reshape an existing hole. The bottom line is, the wood must be round so that she can prepare a nest that will be perfectly comfortable for her eggs, I believe.
Apart from their destructive capacity, they are horrible and scary looking, they are covered in black and yellow and a white spot on their face.
Mummy carpenter bee is exceptionally fascinating because of how she gives up her life for her offspring. This means that she willingly surrenders to death at the birth of her babies. I don’t know if this is one of the traits of a great mum.
Carpenter bee babies come to life in the late summer and begin to feed on plants’ nectar. Then they crawl back to their hole in winter.
Signs of Carpenter Bee Infestation
The damage caused by these pests is significant. They like to build their nest in soft and unpainted wood.
The familiar places they can be found are; window trim, fascia boards, porch ceilings, fence posts, swing set.
They love softer woods like cedar, redwood, cypress but harder and treated woods like lumber are more like repellents for carpenter bees.
The signs that carpenter bees are around your home include;
- A perfectly round drilled holes in your woods, whether inside or outside. This is the most visible sign of an infestation. Once you begin to see these holes here and there, just assume there are thousands and thousands of carpenter bees around your home already.
- A yellowish stain around the drilled hole. This stain is a combination of the bees’ waste product and their pollen.
- A constant and aggressive buzzing of bees hovering around you or pets
- A surprising visit of woodpeckers around your home. Birds that love eating carpenter bees will begin to peck at the woods
- Also, if your area contains woodpeckers, the birds may peck at the wood as they attempt to get to carpenter bees. Carpenter bees can also leave feces near the opening of a tunnel, which creates stains.
Costs of Damage Repair
If an infestation of carpenter bee goes on for a long time unchecked- which is mostly the case of abandoned apartments- the cost of repair becomes steep.
Dealing with these pests is not an easy task, and if you keep procrastinating, the damage will worsen as each day passes. Therefore, it is crucial to take immediate action once you spot a carpenter bee around you.
This way, you will avoid the high cost of repair. On average, you may have to spend between $500-$5000 fixing their damage, ranging from infestation treatment cost wood repair and replacement; as well as repainting.
Types of Carpenter Bee Damages
A carpenter bee infestation can cost you less or more depending on the extent of an infestation and the type of damage done.
If you take swift action and the damage is minimal, then it is easy to fill up the wood or piece of furniture. But if they have started building tunnels inside your furniture, the cost of repair will be high, and you might need a complete replacement of that piece of furniture.
Carpenter bee can make tunnels in wood and materials that are not painted like roof eaves. They can also damage decks and woods that are kept outside.
The following are the type of damages that carpenter bees are capable of causing;
Structural Damage: If the level of infestation is high, it can cause a lot of damage to a particular structure. Too many tunnels in a piece of furniture will lead to a higher cost of repair, and most times, you need to replace the piece of furniture.
Apart from the cost of repair, carpenter bees can cause structural damage to the extent that it can lead to injury. For instance, if the bees tunnel into railings on the porch or balcony, making it weak, an individual to tries to rest on it or sit will be the victim of the damage caused by carpenter bees.
In the above case, we are looking at multiple costs; the cost of repair which is lesser than the cost of replacement. But the cost of treatment will depend on the extent of the injury.
Unless you are negligent, carpenter bees always announce their presence. So you should see signs that they are around before they begin to wreak their havoc.
Water Damage: if water gets into the tunnels built by these pests, it can cause a rotten the wood. When this happens, the best thing is to get a replacement for the wood. Too many tunnels in warm weather can cause humidity and moisture can build up, which can also make the wood to be rotten.
Stains: This is the least damage that can be done to your piece of furniture. It doesn’t cost much to get the stain out, and you can paint the area if you are not comfortable with the stains
Plugging and Filling Carpenter Bee Holes
The best way to repair wood damage caused by carpenter bee and to prevent them from nesting in your wood is by plugging and filling Carpenter bee holes. But first, you need to check for;
- The location of all carpenter bees’ nest around your home
- The eaves and dormers on your roof. Check every spot in your home
- Piles of sawdust and brownish or yellowish stains to show that they are around
Once you are sure you have an infestation, the next thing is to get rid of them. While you are at it, you should also put a measure in place to ensure that they do not return to your home by protecting all woods and wooden materials in your home.
There are two primary approaches to treating Carpenter bee damage. You can either fill the hole and exterminate the bees while at it, or you can fill the hole and Relocate the Carpenter bees
- Fill and Exterminate Bee
The effectiveness of plugging up a carpenter bee nest is often questioned. The reason is that it does not address the culprit- Carpenter bee. Once nothing is done to get rid of the bees, plugging up their nest will only be short-lived, and by the next season, they would have drilled another hole.
The next option is to fill up the nest with caulk. Caulk is capable of suffocating the larva inside. It kills the larva inside and makes it impossible for other bees to drill another hole. But then, once the caulk dries up, it will not fill the tunnel appropriately and may cause divots on the exterior of the tunnel.
Therefore, the most appropriate option is to use a bug spray. After this, you can now fill the hole with a wooden dowel or caulk. But you have to make sure that the wooden dowel or caulk is painted.
- Fill and Relocate Bees
You don’t have to kill the bee if you can provide a home for them. So before filling the damaged wood, you can wait or the bee to disappear.
After that, you can fill in the tunnels created inside. But you know that the bees will come back to the filled hole or create another hole.
Therefore, you must provide an alternative shelter for them.
You can either buy a bee lodge or create one yourself- it’s just a wooden slab that has a lot of rounded holes that will fit for Carpenter bees.
It is not only better, but it is also cheaper to prevent carpenter bee’s invasion to your home than to begin to get rid of it.
Doing any of the below will discourage Carpenter bee from your home;
- Ensure that all surfaces and woods are painted, including the back and beneath boards. Make sure that you coat it for at least two times. You can use varnishes if you don’t want to paint but will not be as effective as painting. However, any coating will repel carpenter bee
- Treat your lumber and make use of hardwoods for your furniture to make it less susceptible to carpenter bee
- Check your aluminum, vinyl, masonry, or cement. You should also treat these because they are not exempted from carpenter bee damage even though they are not woods
- Double-check for crack and holes in your home and ensure that you fill up all cracks before painting. You can fill up your cracks and holes with caulk or putty. After caulking, you should coat with paint.
These strategies will prevent Carpenter bee damage, so you can avoid the high costs associated with fixing such problems.