How Do Carpenter Bees Drill Holes In Wood?

Most people are at least aware that carpenter bees can be a nuisance to your home because they drill holes in wood such as siding or porches. That being said, when you really start to think about it, how do carpenter bees actually drill holes into wood? How do these relatively small insects actually have the strength to drill holes into wood to create their nests? Well keep on reading below and you’ll find out!

How Do Carpenter Bees Drill Holes In Wood?

Carpenter bees are not the most attractive insects in the world. In fact, you might even call them scary. They’re big and black with a red spot on their thorax- which is located between their head and abdomen. And they like to chew holes into wood that can cause extensive damage if left untreated.

But when it comes to drilling holes, carpenter bees have an amazing talent: they don’t use tools! Carpenter bees drill using their mandibles (which are located near the mouth). They use these mandibles to slowly and steadily rip and tear tiny layers of wood away in a circular pattern until they’ve formed a hole big enough for their nest.

This is quite a slow process because it’s estimated that carpenter bees can only drill about 1 inch every few days. This means the entire nest can take weeks to finally complete.

Why Do Carpenter Bees Drill Holes?

Carpenter bees are not interested in eating wood; there is no nutritional value to them whatsoever. They don’t eat (or suck) sap like other carpenter insects either, like termites or carpenter ants. The drill holes for one purpose: to create a nest and lay their eggs! Carpenter bees use their strong mandibles to chew through the wood so that they can create a spacious chamber for their eggs and to provide ventilation while keeping them safe from any predators.

Carpenter bees drill holes into wood that is found on outside structures, like decks or eaves or even sheds and gazebos. If you see these large holes in your wooden structures, it could be an indicator of a larger problem. Carpenter bee holes can be a signal that your house is under attack from another carpenter bee species, the wood-boring bees. These female bees carve out tunnels in which to lay their eggs; they are especially active between February to May and again sometime during August to September.

Are the Carpenter Bees Eating the Wood?

No. Carpenter bees do not eat wood like termites or carpenter ants, nor do they sip the nutritious sap like other wood-boring insects. They actually create holes for a nesting spot.

Is it Males or Females Drilling/Cutting the Holes?

The females drill the holes while the males defend the colony. It’s easy to tell the difference between them because males lack a stinger. They like to hover around drilling areas and make loud noises while trying to get the females’ attention!

Do Carpenter Bees Damage Homes?

Yes, carpenter bees can cause significant damage to your house’s wooden structures. However, they rarely sting humans. This can compromise the structural integrity of your home, and if the infestation is not addressed, it could lead to a large-scale problem.

How to Identify a Carpenter Bee Infestation?

The easiest way to identify a carpenter bee infestation is by looking for large, cylindrical holes in wood. The female drills these holes using her extremely powerful legs and jaws; she can drill into one area several times before moving on to the next section of wood.

How can you stop carpenter bees from drilling or extending their holes?

There is no surefire way to get rid of carpenter bees; they can be extremely persistent and hard to deter. The best thing you can do is address the source of the problem. If the bees are coming from your wood structures, you can repaint or caulk or seal any holes that they might be using to enter and exit their nests.

Carpenter Bee Traps

There are bee traps that one can purchase and set up around their homes. When the carpenter bees enter the trap, they will be unable to find their way back out. Carpenter bee traps are usually pretty effective.


You can paint the wood with a carpenter bee repellent; this can contain ingredients that prevent bees from establishing nests. Paint is one way to protect wood from carpenter bees.

There are also sprays that you can purchase and spray on the wood around your home to keep them away!

Seal All Exterior Openings

Additionally, you can seal all exterior openings around the house to prevent carpenter bees from coming inside.


You can buy sprays or pesticides to apply to wood and the surrounding area. But make sure you read all warning labels carefully before using these products around your home!

Use Citrus Oil

You can also try using citrus oil on the wood around your home. Citrus oils have a pungent smell, which can be used to ward off carpenter bees!

Get Professional Help

If the best efforts aren’t working, then it might be time to get in touch with a professional bee removal expert in your area. They can identify the threats that are near your home and come up with a solution to eradicate them for good!

Using WD-40

WD-40 might seem like a strange prevention strategy, but we actually have a guide on if WD-40 works to repel carpenter bees.

Soapy Water

Surprisingly enough soapy water can be enough to kill carpenter bees. Soapy water used on carpenter bees works to repel them via the smell but also can suffocate carpenter bees when applied directly.

Final Thoughts On How Carpenter Bees Drill Holes:

Carpenter bees are a nuisance to homeowners because they can cause significant damage to your house’s wooden structures. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take- from painting the wood with carpenter bee repellent or purchasing sprays that contain ingredients that prevent bees from establishing nests, sealing exterior openings around the house, and using citrus oil as a deterrent for these pesky insects. If these efforts don’t work, it might be time to get in touch with a professional bee removal expert who will identify threats near your home and come up with an effective method for eradicating them permanently!