Carpenter bees look like bumble bees and pollinate plants but sting and can build nests in untreated wood, a tree, porch, or deck. They bore holes into trees, overhangs, and fence poles to lay eggs and create nests. The female carpenter bee will sting you and the male cannot. As you can tell, carpenter bees can be pesky neighbors to have, so in this guide, we’ll be covering what are carpenter bees attracted to!
When carpenter bees drill a hole into the wood, they will drill about one-half inch wide, and the hole is 1-3 inches deep. When they drill into the wood, they can do damage to your home. The bees do not eat wood but drill into it to construct their nests. It will take the bee a few days to chew one hole to start building the nest. These bees do not sting unless you disturb their nest or provoke them.
Carpenter bees are located in the Eastern and Western United States. They have large and small carpenter bees. Again, when wood is soft, they will build nests in trees, decks, picnic tables, windowsills, old wooden barns, and sheds. The eggs are laid in the tunnels that they build and eventually hatch by chewing their way out. If you are a gardener and want to attract bees, there are preventative ways to keep carpenter bees from building a nest.
What Are Carpenter Bees Attracted To?
Carpenter bees are pollinators so they are attracted to many flat and open-faced flowers such as daylilies, zinnias, salvia, bee balm, asters, lavender, and oregano.
Some types of passion flowers are one of the main types of bees that pollinate them. They feed on nectar and transport pollen to other flowers. They pollinate these plants and allow them to produce more seeds so these are what attract carpenter bees and might be bringing them around your home and garden.
What Else Are Carpenter Bees Attracted To?
Along with this here are some other things that carpenter bees are attracted to:
- Flowers: Carpenter bees are pollinators so they are attracted to quite a few different types of flowers which might be around your home! Some of their favorites are passion flowers!
- Untreated Wood: Carpenter bees love to drill into untreated wood to create their nests in the Spring. This means they are often attracted to old fences, leftover firewood, sheds and barns, or your porch.
- House Siding: Carpenter bees love to drill into your house siding because it’s generally softwood and it’s in prime location since they like their nests to be up high and near the peaks of your roof.
- Old Carpenter Bee Nests: Carpenter bees love to reuse carpenter bee nests. So if you have old carpenter bee nests on your property, this can actually attract additional carpenter bees onto your property.
When Spring comes around, the only thing on a carpenter bee’s mind is to find a nesting location and to reproduce. So if there’s anything on your property that can aid them in this journey, then it will probably be attracting them!
Preventing Carpenter Bees
Some plants repel carpenter bees like basil due to its fragrance, and geraniums because they contain little or no pollen. Woodworm contains a substance toxic to insects called absinthe. Another herb that repel the bees due to its scent is mint. Marigolds are hard for these bees to pollinate due to their shape, so they avoid them.
If you’re looking for long-term solutions, then check out our guide on how to get rid of carpenter bees naturally!
Thyme is another herb that repels carpenter bees due to the scent. Citronella grass has a citrus scent that carpenter bees do not like. When it is planted near gardens it keeps them away. Eucalyptus trees, when planted in the yard, grow, and have a strong scent that carpenter bees dislike. These are some plants to consider planting to keep these bees at bay.
Carpenter bees love flowers, so if you have a flower garden it will attract them to your home or property. Untreated wood attracts them to build a nest near your home or in the wood. Treating the wood on your deck, fence, or home may deter them from building a nest. Using varnish, staining, or painting the wood on the exterior of your home, deck, buildings, and fences often works. In some cases, it will not, and an infestation may occur.
Watch out for wood piles, cover them, or store wood inside a tool shed or indoors to keep the bees away. Vinyl or aluminum siding is a better choice for siding as bees are attracted to wood. Some gardeners spray citrus oil or almond oil on the wood surface in early spring to keep the bees away. You can buy citrus oil in many stores and making your own is labor intensive. The smell repeals them and drives them to go elsewhere. Similar reactions are from sprays such as vinegar or even WD-40.
Some gardeners install pre-made bee houses that they sell in garden shops and hang them from a tree in the backyard far away from the house. It is designed for the bees to create a nest. If you do this, make sure the holes are large enough for the bees to get into. You should have some knowledge about handling bees before attempting to use bee houses. Carpenter bees are attracted to using a bee house due to the nature of their species.
What To Do When You Have A Carpenter Bee Infestation
Sometimes you cannot prevent a carpenter bee infestation on your home or property and calling a professional to help you with the problem is the best solution. They have different tools and products that work well in eliminating a serious carpenter bee infestation. You have discovered signs of a nest somewhere on your property and want it removed. Our first thought is to always try to repel the bees without killing them. Carpenter bees are important pollinators so you don’t want to kill them, but you do want them to go elsewhere.
We recommend using carpenter bee traps and once you’ve collected them, move them away from your property. Check out our guide on where to hang carpenter bee traps!
If you want to seal the holes that the bees have drilled into the wood, a professional knows how to do this properly and when it should be done. We also have a few tips on how to protect your wood from carpenter bees in the future!
When you call the pest control company, they will come out of your home and perform an inspection of your home and property. After they do this, they will produce a plan to treat the bee infestation effectively. If you have a nest, they often dust or spay chemicals into the nest openings. It will remove the bees but takes time. It is not an immediate solution.
Sometimes the larvae are not killed, and the pest control company will have to return a few times to treat the problem. Each case is different, and they will find the best solutions for each customer.
Pest control companies may dust the nests in the evening to make sure all the bees are in the nest. Sometimes they will properly seal the opening made by the carpenter bees if this will help prevent further infestations. They have special equipment that can spray or dust a long distance because carpenter bees often drill long tunnels in the wood where they make nests.
Some nests are fifteen feet or higher and you need special tools that can reach the area. To keep the bees from building nests the following year, pest control companies spray your home yearly. They have the products to keep them from rebuilding their nests.
When you have a serious infestation, do not try to manage it yourself. Call a pest control company for an inspection and treatment plan.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on what are carpenter bees attracted to, and I hope this helps you prevent any carpenter bee damage in the future!