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Carpenter Bee 101: What Every Asheville Homeowner Needs To Know

April 16, 2020 - Carpenter Bees

Do you know what a carpenter bee is? If you don't, you are definitely not alone. Many homeowners in Asheville know that carpenter bees can be destructive to their property, but they don't know how to identify them or how to detect evidence of carpenter bee activity. That's why we've put together this quick guide. Here's everything you need to know about carpenter bees in Asheville, as it relates to protecting your property from damage and your family from injury.

What do carpenter bees look like?

If you know what a bumblebee looks like, you'll be able to identify a carpenter bee. It looks just like a bumblebee, only its hind section is entirely black, visibly hairless, and shiny. If you don't know what a bumblebee looks like, it is a big, fat, fuzzy bee with black and golden yellow coloration. Some carpenter bees don't have the golden-yellow coloration of a bumblebee. Their hairs are pale yellow. It depends on the species.

Do carpenter bees sting?

Yes. Female carpenter bees sting. But they don't actually prefer to sting people. They are not social bees like honey bees. They don't swarm. And they will only sting you if they feel threatened. Male carpenter bees can't sting you, but they are incredibly aggressive. If you go near carpenter bee nesting sites, male bees can get all up in your business real fast.

Do carpenter bees really damage wood?

Have you heard that carpenter bees don't damage homes because homes are made of pressurized wood, or that carpenter bees don't do extensive damage because their tunnels are only about 7 inches long? If so, you may wonder if carpenter bees will really damage the wood of your home. We're here to tell you that they will. In fact, they can significantly damage the wood of your home. Here are some reasons why:

  • Not all of the wood in your home is pressurized. 
  • While pressurized lumber has been treated with a chemical preservative that resists wood decay and prevents insect damage, this protection can be broken down by moisture damage so that timbers become susceptible to carpenter bee damage.
  • If carpenter bees find suitable wood to infest, they will come back year after year and increase the length of tunnels.

Can carpenter bees harm my family?

The chances are low, but you should be aware of the risk. As carpenter bees tunnel in stairs and railings, they can weaken them. This can cause stairs to snap or railings to give way, which could result in personal injury.

Can I prevent carpenter bees?

Yes. There are some ways you can resist them and prevent damage. Carpenter bees have a preference for unpainted, unstained, and unvarnished wood. Applying paint, stain, or varnish can keep carpenter bees out. You might also need to apply metal flashing to the ends of boards. Carpenter bees can tunnel into wood this way.

How do I detect carpenter bee activity?

If you have carpenter bees inside the structures on your property, there are a few ways you may detect them. Some are more obvious than others.

  • Seeing carpenter bees is the most obvious way to detect them.
  • Search for circular holes bored into the wood of your property.
  • Carpenter bees don't eat wood. They have to do something with the sawdust. You may find sawdust under an entrance to a carpenter bee tunnel or you may find it clinging to a wall.
  • Search for damage caused by carpenter bees as they tunnel. This damage may look like the dots and dashes of morse code.
  • If you have lots of carpenter bees, you may hear them chewing on wood as they create their tunnels.

What do I do if I find carpenter bees around my home?

The best solution is to have a licensed pest control professional get rid of them and assist you in guarding your home against future infestations. If you live in Asheville, reach out to Noble Pest Solutions. We can help you make sure your property is protected.

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