Have you ever noticed a big, fuzzy black or brown bee flying around your yard? The bees you are seeing are probably carpenter bees. Sometimes people mistakenly call these "Bumblebees". A true Bumblebee is a different creature.
Carpenter bees are solitary bees that get their name from their habit of boring holes into wood to create a cavity. This cavity is where the female will lay her eggs. Often the evidence of their presence is a pile of "sawdust-like" shavings.
If you find this frass and want to investigate further, you only need to do one thing . . . look up.
If you look closely, you'll probably find a hole about 1/2 inch in diameter (a little larger than a pencil). This hole will be in a piece of wood with little or no finish on it.
Carpenter bees can look, and sometimes act intimidating, but they are fairly harmless. Although the female has a stinger, she rarely uses it. And the male, who might act very aggressive, has no stinger at all. He's all bluff!
Carpenter bees can do damage if left alone for a long time. But we have seen very few cases of structural damage that required repairs. There are two reasons for this: First, the bees usually aren't present in very large numbers; and second, the bee prefers unfinished wood. Most of the damage we have seen has been in fences or in piles of firewood.
When carpenter bees damage the wood siding or trim of a house or other structure, it is most likely because that structure has an old finish, or no finish at all. To repel them and protect the structure, a simple coat of paint, varnish or other exterior quality finish will usually do the job. If you've tried this and are still having problems, give us a call. We'll be happy to discuss it with you and, if the building is within our normal service area, we'll probably stop by to take a look.