Carpenter Bees?

Asked April 27, 2018, 1:17 PM EDT

Last summer, I photographed a number of bees in my yard. The same kind are here again. A neighbor told me that they are wood-boring bees. I had heard of carpenter bees. When I searched online, they seem to match the ones in my yard. Is this a problem? Should I take any action? I don't want to harm them.

Clark County Kentucky

4 Responses

Hello, those are in fact carpenter bees and do bore in seasoned, dried out wood. Mostly in wooden outdoor furniture or old tobacco barns. If you are not concerned about wooden lawn furniture or don’t have an old tobacco barn or other mostly wooded structure on your property I would not worry about them. If you have any more questions send me a direct email at

I do have an old, weathered section of fencing. An new, untreated fence as well as weathered furniture. What should I do to protect them?

Here is text from UK entomology department on carpenter bees, I hope this helps.

Dealing with carpenter bees

Here are some suggestions on reducing damage from carpenter bees from the log home care website .


Female carpenter bees like weathered, slightly roughened surfaces of soft woods to create their galleries. Usually, they choose west or south exposures. If practical, these areas can be treated with an insecticide that contains either cypermethrin or deltamethrin as active ingredients. They are irritating to many insect species, forcing them to leave treated surfaces. Usually, the bees are not killed but leave to find less irritating surfaces. An application may last 3 to 4 weeks so it may be necessary to re-treat. The area will continue to be attractive to other carpenter bees that are looking for nesting sites so a treatment does not mean that all bees will suddenly disappear.

Read and follow label directions and read and any precautions that must be taken when using these products.

Examples include

Active ingredient Brand name

Cypermethrin (3) Cyper-Eight

Deltamethrin Bonide Household Insect Control Ready To Use (0.02%)

Bonide Termite & Carpenter Ant RTU (0.02%)

Other pyrethroids that may be effective

Cyfluthrin Bayer Home Pest Control Indoor & Outdoor RTU

Cyhalothrin Spectracide Bug Stop Indoor Plus Outdoor

Permethrin various brands

Carpenter bees prefer bare wood but will chew into stained wood. A glossy topcoat over a stain may reduce damage because bees do not like slick, hard surfaces. Painted surfaces are rarely attacked.

Treating active tunnels

Treat and plug active carpenter bee holes with a contact insecticide or WD-40 oil. After treatment, seal the entryway with a piece of dowel rod, wood putty, or Energy Seal.

Carpenter bee traps

Carpenter bee traps can be made or purchased. They attract and capture bees looking for nesting sites. They are probably most effective early in the season when the bees are establishing their sites and where bee numbers are relatively low. In some situations, they may be an effective alternative. Below are two sites with instructions and a video.

Thank you,
I will follow your instructions. This is a valuable online resource.