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Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are large, yellow and black (or blue-black) bees that become active in early spring.  This bee is commonly 2/3 to 1 inch long, usually with a shiny abdomen and a yellow thorax.  Its look-alike cousin, the bumble bee has a fuzzy abdomen.  Although it is rare to be stung by one, their sheer size is scary and people generally stay clear of them.

Carpenter Bee Biology

Carpenter bees get their name from their ability to drill through wood and nest in the hole.  Their drilling creates a near-perfect hole, approximately 1/2 inch in diameter.  The hole is usually located on the underside of the wood surface; including siding, soffits, decks, overhangs, fence posts and window frames.   Although the hole appears to be only an inch or two deep, it rarely ends there.  

  • The female carpenter bee will turn 90 degrees and bore a channel from 6 inches to as long as 4 feet.  This channel serves as a main corridor from which she will drill small chambers a few inches deep.  These chambers become egg holders.  She will deposit an egg, bring in a mass of pollen for the newly hatched larvae to feed on, and then seal it all off to ensure it's development before she repeats the process for the next egg.
  • The male spends most of his time flying around the nest playing guard.   This is ironic as nature has left him ill prepared: he has no stinger!  Only the female can sting.  Simply killing the male will not solve your problem.  You must treat the nest.

Signs of Carpenter Bee Infestations

Half-inch, round holes appear, and piles of sawdust are found underneath.  Along with the coarse frass (sawdust) found underneath the nest entrance, there are usually dirty-yellow streaks of fecal matter staining the wood below the hole.  If you are near a nest, you will likely be buzzed by the male carpenter bee on guard.  He is loud and aggressive, but remember that he does not have the ability to sting you.  The female can sting but she is normally very docile.   A single pair (male and female) occupies each nest.  It is not uncommon to find several pair of carpenter bees nesting in one structure.  They frequently nest near each other and often in the same area year after year, causing extensive damage.   You may find old holes near newer ones.  Sometimes the female will renovate an old nest gallery and reuse it.

Control of Carpenter Bees, Carpenter Bee Elimination

**   Skip down to carpenter bee elimination products.  **

To control carpenter bees, do not concentrate on the adults.  The annoying male bees are easy to kill with a wasp freeze such as PT515.  However, killing the male will do nothing to stop the cycle.  You must treat the nest with a product which will have a long residual killing time.  If you spray liquid residuals in their hole, you may kill the female bee.  The eggs are protected, however, and six to twelve months later the larva will emerge.  Since liquids are absorbed by porous wood, they will be gone when the larva hatch.  This means the larva have a strong chance of survival.  To insure complete control, use a dust called Drione.  It has a desiccant action and can remain active up to 3 months in the nest and the nest galleries. When the larva emerge they will be dehydrated by the Drione. Apply the Drione  (using a Crusader Duster) to the nest openings and deep inside the cavities drilled by the carpenter bees.  This will kill any emerging carpenter bees and larva in the future. Since the holes can penetrate several feet, you should use an applicator like the Crusader Duster. This tool will help you to apply the dust with enough force to reach deep in the nest where the eggs and larva will be living.  You should also treat any wood surface that you wish to protect with Suspend SCTempo WP or with Cyper WP.  These products (Suspend SC, Tempo WP and Cyper WP) are used extensively by pest control operators throughout the United States for most of their monthly, quarterly or once-a-year pest control accounts. These products are active against many pests including carpenter bees.  Choose the product that best suits your overall needs for pest control in and around your home or business.  Tempo WP and Cyper WP are all wettable powders (powder concentrates that are mixed with water for spraying for various insect pests) which are odorless and give at least 90 day residual action indoors.   Suspend SC is a microencapsulated insecticide that leaves no visible residue and has no odor.  Mix Suspend SC at the rate of 1 ounces per gallon of water, Cyper WP or Tempo WP at the rate of 2 scoops per gallon when controlling carpenter bee infestations; spray on any wood surface you wish to protect from carpenter bees or where they may want to bore holes and create galleries. One gallon can treat up to 1000 sq./ft.  This application rate works well when treating cedar homes and log cabins.  These structures are particularly subject to carpenter bees. If you tend to have recurring carpenter bee problems every Spring or Fall, may have to do more spraying.  This will deter future infestations of many pests, including carpenter bees.  Apply Suspend SC once every 4 weeks in the spring when they are most active.  Once a month applications throughout the summer will probably provide protection but do not forget your fall application.  Although rain and humidity will break down the chemical, it is active enough so that even trace amounts will help chase carpenter bees, wasps and hornets away.

Use a pump sprayer to do the treatment. Chapin Sprayer is a durable sprayer.   Start treating high on the siding under the eaves.  Since the product will run down the side of the home, you will get the best coverage this way.  The most economical way to spray is with a garden pump sprayer.  Our Chapin sprayer is capable of reaching up to 30 feet high.  Product comes out slowly and it may take a couple of gallons to treat your home.  However, the pump sprayer avoids excessive waste.  

If you have a lot a area to treat and are not concerned about wasting some product, use a Dial-A-Mix hose end sprayer with a liquid concentrate Cypermethrin (Cynoff EC or Cypermethrin 4 Oz. EC.)  This hose-end type of sprayer is used by filling it with the Cypermethrin product, hooking it to your garden hose and then depressing the trigger.  This releases the water from your hose which in turn siphons out the required amount of Cypermethrin to provide the correct solution.  This type of application is much easier to use than a pump sprayer.  Many times the water pressure is able to spray higher than the pump sprayer which could prove important if trying to reach high places on your home.  Expect a small amount of waste when using the hose end sprayer.  

On a special note, do not use a "Miracle Gro" or other "no-clog" hose end sprayer which lets water mix with the concentrate.  These sprayers are designed for water soluble fertilizer and will not work for this application. 

When Spring has sprung, insects will rebound from a long and cold winter.  The carpenter bee is one such pest.  Treat their nests directly with Drione to insure long term control.  Use Suspend SC, Cyper WP or Tempo WP on decks, overhangs and fence posts in the Spring to stop further nests from starting.  A little prevention will go a long way in reducing the amount of unsightly damage caused by carpenter bees.

Products For Carpenter Bee Control

Carpenter Bee Elimination Kit #1This kit is for controlling carpenter bees, spiders, scorpions, roaches, carpet beetles, clothes moths and other pests that wander in from outdoors, invading your home.
This kit contains:

  • 1 D-Fense SC (same as Suspend SC)
  • 1 Chapin 1 gallon sprayer
  • 1 Crusader duster
  • 1 Lb. container of Drione Dust

Click here to order your Carpenter Bee Kit #1


If you already own a quality sprayer, you need Carpenter Bee Kit 2.  This kit contains the same items as Carpenter Bee Kit 1, but without the 1 gallon sprayer.  

Click here to order Carpenter Bee Kit #2


Use Carpenter Bee Kit #3 if you have cedar siding, log or other such home where volume of product is needed.


Professional Pest Control Products

"Do-It-Yourself Pest Control"
6920 Pine Forest Road
Pensacola, Florida   32526

Call us, between 8:30 & 4:30 weekdays, Central Time
1-800-434-4555

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