Last Updated November 25th, 2022: If you’ve started noticing unusual things in the house, like sawdust and black-yellow insects flying indoors, the chances are high that carpenter bees in your home are running rampant!
They have strong jaws that help them make tunnels inside wooden eaves in houses, such as on wooden fences, walls, wooden decks, and more. Due to the similarities in appearance, it can be easy to mistake carpenter bees for bumblebees. But carpenter bees have shiny black tails.
You can also find other signs around your house for the possibility that carpenter bees are in your house.
What Are Carpenter Bees?
If you’re aware of this species of insects, you’ll know that carpenter bees get their name from their ability to burrow into wood. Call it ability or habit, but it sure feels frustrating to find your wooden structures crumbling due to a carpenter-bee infestation.
The strange thing is that carpenter bees don’t actually eat wood, but they rather bore into it in circular patterns, out of habit. Another strange fact about carpenter bees is that they are not social insects and do not live in colonies.
You will typically find them in individual nests in the frames and trees outdoors, on the sides of buildings, and on wooden eaves. Carpenter bees are most active during the Spring, but learn more about carpenter bee season!
How to Identify Carpenter Bees in House
If you think there are carpenter bees in the house but are not sure if you’re identifying them correctly, here are some characteristics to note. You probably know that carpenter bees share a striking resemblance with bumblebees, but you can differentiate between the two since one has yellow markings and the other does not.
Carpenter bees do not possess any yellow markings on their abdomens. In fact, its body is generally very shiny and smooth, whereas bumblebees have deep yellow and hairy abdomens.
If you’re sure you have carpenter bees, check out our guide on what kills carpenter bees.
Common Signs of Carpenter Bees in the House
Carpenter bees do not form colonies, nor do they fly in swarms. So how does one identify whether there is an infestation of carpenter bees in the house? Well, you can look for certain common signs, and trust us, these can be hard to miss.
1. Carpenter Bees in Walls
Carpenter bees love to build their nests individually, just like they love boreholes. As a result, the insects drill through any wooden surfaces they can find in the house. This is why if you hear vibrating, buzzing, or humming sounds coming from within the walls of your house, there’s likely an infestation.
When you repeatedly note these strange sounds coming from the walls in your house, do not waste time and contact a pest control expert immediately. If not for carpenter bees in the house, it could be carpenter ants or termites, which specialists will track and eliminate.
2. Insect Presence
If one fine day you find bees buzzing inside the house and then see it frequently, do not ignore it. In fact, you must not fail to observe the first bee you find buzzing indoors, especially noting their physical appearance.
If the flying insect does not have the signature yellow stripes, they’re likely carpenter bees. Secondly, you must carefully observe where the flying bees are heading in your home. If you particularly see them congregating near wooden surfaces, such as your porch, roofline, etc., they’re like carpenter bees in the house.
3. Smooth and Round Holes in Structures of Wood
You can easily identify an infestation of carpenter bees in the house by looking for holes in your wooden structures. The foolproof sign of bee activity is smooth round holes in the wood because that is the typical style of carpenter-bee wood tunneling.
In fact, if you can be a little more precise, check to see the size of the holes. If they are big enough for the body of carpenter bees to easily fit through, the wooden damage is surely from the pests.
What Do Carpenter Bees Sound like in the Wall?
If bees have drilled through the walls and have started nesting inside, you will typically hear buzzing or vibrating sounds emitting from your wooden walls. You must note that the bees have the capacity to drill circular holes of nearly half an inch and may produce tiny sounds when doing so. If any untoward sound emits out of your walls and you’re not sure what is causing it, you could call in a pest expert to confirm it for you.
Carpenter Bee Sounds:
Many people wonder if carpenter bees make noise, and when they are drilling holes for their nests, yes carpenter bees do in fact make noise! Carpenter bee sounds generally are low vibrating and rumbling sounds inside of wood as they are drilling their way through to make their nest tunnel system.
Along with this, occasionally carpenter bees will find their way into your walls! Carpenter bees typically don’t nest inside drywall but it is possible! That being said, carpenter bees in your walls will generally be much louder than carpenter bees inside wood, since drywall is hollow the noise travels. Simply put your ear to the wall and listen for vibrating and ripping sounds.
Do Carpenter Bees Leave Sawdust?
When there is an infestation of carpenter bees in the house, you’re sure to see piles of sawdust by the wooden structures. When the pesky insects start drilling holes in your wooden surfaces, they leave frass behind, which we refer to as sawdust.
It is also common to note sawdust clinging to your wooden window frames, doors, porch, desks, and other surfaces with bee tunnels. However, sawdust can also be a sign of termite activity, too, so it’s best to have an expert verify it.
4. Carpenter Bee Poop:
An unfortunate, but obvious sign of carpenter bees inside your home or in your walls in carpenter bee poop. Just like any other creature, carpenter bees have to excrete waste, and they generally will not do this inside their nest. This means they’ll often leave you with poop dripping down your walls as they poop outside of their nest. Learn more about carpenter bee poop!
If you see brown liquid streaks down your walls, it means it’s likely animal droppings of some sort. Usually it will either be carpenter bees or termites. Learn more about what do termites poop look like.
DIY Carpenter Bee Treatments
If you have noted carpenter bees in the house or have found an infestation, you could opt for three control methods:
- Preventive measures to protect your wood from carpenter bees, such as applying thick oil paint coats or latex paints on the wooden surfaces.
- Using gallery and residual surface treatments for insecticides.
- Use all-natural repellents such as:
- Using orange or citrus oil for carpenter bees
- Get rid of bees with vinegar
- Carpenter Bees and WD-40
Final Thoughts On Carpenter Bees In Your Home
Carpenter bees are slightly different in appearance from bumblebees, but their activities are quite distinct. For starters, the strong-jawed creatures tend to bore circular holes in wooden surfaces, mainly out of habit. They’re also more drawn to wood because they find it a perfect nesting place.
While the creatures don’t really eat wood away, one can still suffer significant damage from an infestation of carpenter bees in the house. You can catch signs of it to verify whether there’s an infestation, such as buzzing sounds, sawdust, distinct round holes in wood, and more.
With timely attention and prompt measures, you can prevent carpenter bees from inflicting too much damage to your wooden structures.
Overall, I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on signs of carpenter bees in your home! Generally carpenter bees will be found outside your home, but occasionally they will make nests inside your home, which can be a more severe issue!