carpenter ant damaging wood

Sometimes, carpenter bee damage doesn't look like anything. You can look right at a board or beam that is being damaged by these bees and not seen any outward, visible signs of that damage. In fact, you may hear these bees before you see the damage they're doing. Why? Because they bore inside wood. But, if you know what to look for and where to look, you might be able to uncover carpenter bee damage before it becomes hard to miss.

Early Damage

Carpenter bees bore tunnels into wood. They usually begin by gripping the underside of a piece of wood and chewing a hole upward. This is why you may not see the damage. You have to get down under the wood of your porch, deck, patio or stairs to see the holes created by carpenter bees. When carpenter bees bore into a piece of wood they will tunnel upward at first and then turn to follow the grain of the wood. If this is the railing on a deck, this will be a complete right turn. If this is the wood fascia on your roofline, it will be more of a 45-degree turn. Finding the circular entry points of carpenter bees can clue you into the danger of a carpenter bee infestation. These holes will be about the size of a nickel and they will often be underneath wood planks or at the end of wood planks.

Advanced Damage

As carpenter bees create their tunnels, they can sometimes breach their tunnel walls. From the outside, this damage can look like the dashes and dots of Morse code and the holes will run even with the angle of the board that is being damaged.

Over time, this damage can grow worse. Carpenter bees don't do a lot of damage all at once, but they are prone using established tunnels and extending those tunnels. The more seasons these bees are allowed to bore into the wood of your home, the more extensive your damage will be.

Secondary Damage

Carpenter bees create tunnels in wood and place their offspring in chambers. When they do, their larvae create an incentive for woodpeckers to peck on the wood of your home. Woodpeckers eat carpenter bee larvae. This can lead to secondary damage—and a very annoying tapping sound. Keep this in mind when you find a woodpecker tapping on the wood of your home. It is letting you know that you have a wood-damaging pest such as carpenter bees, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles, termites and more. Thanks, woodpeckers!

What Happens When You Don't See Damage?

If you have a carpenter bee infestation, you may be at risk. Those bees can weaken a wood step that leads up to your deck and create the conditions for a fall. They can weaken your deck railing and it could give way. They can weaken a support beam and cause a collapse, though this is very rare. The amount of damage needed to cause a collapse is usually detected.

How to Detect Carpenter Bees

Before you see damage, you may detect carpenter bees by hearing them chewing inside the wood of your home or by properly identifying one of these bees. They are actually quite easy to identify. Carpenter bees look a lot like bumble bees. Their large size and yellowish hairs will help you see them from a good distance, and their entirely black abdomen will help you distinguish them from bumble bees.

Carpenter Bee Control

If you're seeing carpenter bees, it is a good idea to have them eliminated. Over time, these bees can do a lot of damage and cause quite a bit of a nuisance for you. Treatment of carpenter bees is best done by a professional as DIY carpenter bee control can lead to additional damage and ongoing infestation.

If you live in the Greater Knoxville area, Russell's Pest Control can assist you with your carpenter bee issue. Our highly rated, QualityPro Certified team has the training and experience to resolve a wide range of Tennessee pest problems. Reach out to us today and schedule a free inspection to get started.


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