How to Prevent Carpenter Bees in Log Homes


Carpenter bees are large, black bees with shiny backs. They can be differentiated from bumble bees by their shiny backs. Carpenter bees drill into soft woods, such as the logs of log homes, to make tunnels in which they lay their eggs and to find places to sleep during the cold winter months. Carpenter bee holes are approximately a half inch in diameter and can be several inches long. Given enough time and enough bees, the holes in a log home can become substantial in number, detracting from the look of the home and, eventually, allowing water and snow into the logs of the home, causing them to deteriorate. There are several steps the log homeowner can take to discourage these pests.

Things You'll Need

  • WD-40 (or bee and wasp poison spray)
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Flexible wire
  • Polyurethane
  • Paint
  • Kill any adult carpenter bees in their holes. Carpenter bee holes in logs attract more bees, so it is important that you plug all holes as soon as you can. Spray WD-40 or a bee and wasp killer into each hole and then wait 30 minutes for any bees to die. Often the female bee -- the one drilling the hole -- will come out of the hole to die.

  • Plug all holes with wood putty. Force as much putty as you can into each hole and smooth over the tops of the holes with a putty knife.

  • Ream out carpenter bee holes if you are filling them in summer or fall, as the holes may contain eggs or larva. Shove a piece of wire into each hole to break the plug that the female bee made to protect her eggs. Once the plug is broken -- you will feel it break as you twist the wire into the hole -- spray WD-40 or a bee- and wasp-killing spray into the hole and then fill each hole with wood putty, forcing as much putty as possible into the hole and smoothing the top of the hole with your putty knife.

  • Apply a coating of polyurethane to the logs of your home. Polyurethane discourages carpenter bees from drilling into the wood in the first place, but it may not stop all bees.

  • Paint the logs of your home. Stain will not stop the bees, but painting the logs will prevent virtually all carpenter bees from attacking your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for carpenter bee activity and plug all holes as quickly as you can to discourage even more bees from attacking your home.
  • The male bee may harass you while you are killing the female bee that is doing the boring into your home. Male bees have no stingers. Female bees have stingers but are not overly aggressive.

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  • Photo Credit carpenter bee image by Richard Seeney from
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