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They're big. They're aggressive. They bore holes in the wood of Hartford homes. They're called carpenter bees, and today we're talking about how you can tell if your home is being damaged by these wood-destroying pests. Here's what you need to know.

What A Carpenter Bee Looks Like

There are only two big, fat bees that come into Hartford yards. One is the bumblebee. The other is the carpenter bee. Both can have yellow and black hairs that make them look like they have fur. Both lumber through the air hopping from flower to flower. But carpenter bees have two distinct characteristics that make them obviously different from bumblebees.

  • A carpenter bee doesn't have hair on its abdomen. It is entirely black and visually hairless. You may also notice that it has a shine. The abdomen of a carpenter bee is half its body length. So you're likely to notice this visual characteristic from a distance.

  • A carpenter bee hangs out in some places that bumblebees don't. Since carpenter bees tunnel into wood, they can be found buzzing around underneath decks, patios, porches and stairs. You may see them near wooden sheds and wood fences. You may also find them exploring the eaves of your home. Bumblebees will be focused on areas that have flowers or flowering plants. They have no interest in wood.

Seeing carpenter bees buzzing around the wood on your property is a clear sign that you have an infestation. Take note of where you're seeing them because it can give you insight into whether or not they've found an entry point into your home and are tunneling into the wood inside your walls. If you have lots of carpenter bees infesting your property, you're probably going to notice them, even if you don't know they're carpenter bees. Male carpenter bees can be very aggressive. Fortunately, the male bees can't sting you.


If carpenter bees are destroying your property, you might be able to see the entrances to the tunnels they're making. These holes will be perfectly circular, and they are most likely to be found on the bottom of wood. Carpenter bees have a preference for getting under wooden structures, attaching to the wood, and boring upwards. After an inch or two, they take a sharp turn and follow the grain. You'll probably need a flashlight to find these holes. And you'll probably have to get dirty.


After carpenter bees have tunneled into the wood of your home, you may see damage. As a female carpenter bee (the one that does the tunneling) excavates wood, she may accidentally breach the tunnel walls. This can create dashes and dots, sort of like a morse code of wood damage. Search for this type of damage on any untreated or unpainted wood on your property.


As unsettling as it may be, you might notice that you have a carpenter bee issue when you start to hear chewing noises. The more bees you have tunneling through the wood of your home, the more noticeable the noises are likely to be.


Carpenter bees don't eat wood. Just like carpenter ants, they scrap wood and push the sawdust out of their tunnels, along with their feces. This material is called frass. You may see it clinging to a wood surface or littering the ground.

A Collapse

The worst way to find out that you have carpenter bees is to have a railing, stair, or some other structure, break. Every year that carpenter bees tunnel in your property, they make the damage worse. Over time, this can lead to structural problems. Most of the time, structures give way and result in no injuries. But it is possible for serious injury to occur.

What To Do When You Discover Carpenter Bees

The best solution for wood-destroying pests is to have a trained and licensed pest control professional deal with the problem so that you don't end up paying a lot of money for repairs. If you live in New England, you may be in our service area. Reach out to Big Blue Bug Solutions for complete control of carpenter bees. We're here to help.

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