Carpenter Bee Infestation

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

How do you know when you have a carpenter bee infestation, and what should you do?

Do you see the stain on the aluminum siding?

That is a sure sign there was a carpenter bee infestation in the past.

It might be current and active.

Sometimes I see 10 or 20 of these stains all along the underside of the fascia board along a roof.

These stains are created by carpenter bee spit and vomit.

If you clean it off and smell your rag, it smells like honey!

Well, of course!  What do you think honey is?

Here is what a carpenter bee hole looks like.

Carpenter bee holes all look the same.

They are very round and about the size of your pinky.

The bees create a hole in the wood and then tunnels to the left and right.  At the end of the tunnel they lay eggs.  Then they drag in some form of food for the eggs when they hatch - another insect or two.  The carpenter bee then dies leaving the next generation to happen.

The next generation will do exactly the same thing.  Over time you can have quite an infestation!  And your wood can become very damaged.

When I see the holes (they happen on our daughter's wooden play set in the rear yard) I do this: 

1.  Spray in some insecticide
2.  Fill the hole with caulking

When the bee returns home it sees all that, and gives up to go find another house to infest!  Often carpenter bees pick out a house in a neighborhood and go at it!  You have to pay attention to the stains and when you see them go into action yourself!

A carpenter bee looks like a bumble bee, but with a slightly more pointed hind end.

That image is just about life sized!

When you see them flying, often they will stay still in the air, especially as they examine something, like the side of your house!  Once they find the perfect spot, they will go after it.  They can create a hole in short order!

My recommendation:  when you see the stains it means a hole is being worked on or already created.  You should eliminate the bee's desire immediately.  Spray the hole and fill it.  That will quash the bee's desire and it will move on.

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Christine Rae 01/27/2012 05:31 AM
  2. Hank Richter 01/27/2012 10:26 PM
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Rainmaker
1,520,023
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

Jay,

Very interesting and informative. This sort of infestation can really wreak havoc on a house.

Brian

Jan 27, 2012 10:49 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It can Brian.  Especially when it is a severe infestation.  I have seen houses with 30 or 40 stains and damage to wood all over.

Jan 27, 2012 11:06 AM #22
Rainmaker
86,952
Eric Middleton
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc. - Uniondale, NY
Professional Property Inspector

Jay- Good post, very good. Another way to identify carpenter bees, as they taught us in pesticice school is their shiny behind.

Jan 27, 2012 03:00 PM #23
Ambassador
1,334,156
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, here is one I saw when I was in Kentucky a few years ago.

Carpenter bee and damage

 

Jan 27, 2012 05:00 PM #24
Rainer
117,843
Hank Richter
HomePro Inspections of RI - Providence, RI

Carpenter Bees tend to bore their holes in untreated, weathered wood. Only the female actually has a stinger and will use it if handled. The females will over-winter in the holes, while the males generally live to protect the nest (even without stingers!) and to mate. The same holes can be used over and over again.
Keeping wood surfaces well painted will help to prevent Carpenter Bees to some extent. In Rhode Island, the most active time of the year for the bees is July and August when the sun is really heating up the building materials.
Treatments vary from chemical to mechanical: covering area with other materials, probing holes with wire to eliminate whats in the chamber, etc. Best time to treat is in the evening when the activity slows down!

Jan 27, 2012 10:19 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Eric - I have always identified them by how they fly, and attack me!  Their presence is visible in many ways when they are into something.

Charlie - whoop, dereitis!  He's having some fun there!  He was so busy he didn't notice you.

Jan 27, 2012 10:20 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Hank - you snuck by me when I was answering those other two!  My experience is that they make the tunnels at the ends of those holes longer and longer!  That's all good info.  So they are as far north as RI.

Jan 27, 2012 10:22 PM #27
Rainmaker
3,254,317
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Eww Eww Eww...guessing that these pesty varmits would not survive our winters and like termites are not a part of our  house-scape here ...yippee !

Jan 27, 2012 10:28 PM #28
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't know Sally.  It has been interesting hearing from people where they are and are not!

Jan 27, 2012 10:32 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,792,671
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Jay, I had lots of these carpenter bees in my last old home....it was tough getting rid of them...they just loved the house!

Jan 27, 2012 11:27 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Ginny - sometimes they pick out a house in a neighborhood and go at it!  And, like Goldilocks, yours was just right...

Jan 27, 2012 11:30 PM #31
Rainmaker
694,665
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hello Jay.

Nice post and good find. Here we don't have much of a problem with the Carpenter bees. But back in Michigan, it seems they were all over the place.

Have a great day in Virginia.

Best, Clint McKie

Jan 27, 2012 11:54 PM #32
Rainmaker
128,505
Kamal Salim
Lokation Real Estate - Weston, FL
A Superior Level of Service !

Ron, you should have a Blog Site on your own, Great Info, Great Post

Jan 28, 2012 01:43 AM #33
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Well, that's another area now that I know they are in and are not in Clint!

Thank you Kamal!  I've been here a while now.     Jay

Jan 28, 2012 06:11 AM #34
Rainer
125,379
Laurie Clark CRB Angel Realty LLC Your Monument Realtor 719-502-6572
CRB-CCSS-ASD-HBS-RSD-Denver Short Sale Agents - Monument, CO
Angel Realty, LLC

Hi Jay: I had over 10,000 honey bees with this huge honeycomb the length of the basement ceiling in my brand new, custom built home - and did not discover it til my husband calked up s hole he saw in the exterior of the house. The were swarming all inside the house ...what a sound they made, seeking an exit!

Jan 28, 2012 04:34 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Laurie - years ago, when I was a contractor, a property manager had discovered bees entering and exiting a house from behind the front porch light.  He asked me to go by to caulk the hole up.  Two days later he called me to come see the house and there were a zillion dead bees on the floor!  A bee person came by to find the hive in the entry ceiling, behind the drywall.  He got five quarts of honey from the hive!

They seem to build those hives quickly.  And yours was in a NEW house!

Jan 28, 2012 08:52 PM #36
Rainmaker
233,523
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Their vomit smells like honey, huh?  Fascinating.

Jan 29, 2012 11:05 AM #37
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Just what do you think honey is mi amigo Señor?

Do they have little kettles that they mix up and pour into their hexagonal storage bins?

Jan 29, 2012 12:08 PM #38
Rainer
128,548
John Fauth
Coldwell Banker King Thompson - Grove City, OH
Turning your dreams into an address!

Good Post! I have had these in previous homes I have owned. They sure can do alot of damage when left untreated or ignored.

Jan 31, 2012 09:51 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,846,965
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

They do John!  For sure.  They are incessant and work on the same tunnels for generations!

Jan 31, 2012 10:07 AM #40
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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