Are Carpenter Bees Good? (Answered With Facts)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you have ever wondered about carpenter bees and whether they are beneficial, then you should read this article to the end.

Judging by the name given to these species of bees, you might be able to tell of their behaviors because they do their best to live up to the name.

Carpenter bees are a specie of bees that attack woods and are a real pests to home owners if they come across. Carpenter bees are very harmful and can cause real damage if not properly checked.

Or, maybe they live up to the name, but not as we know it. we know carpenters make use of their tools to repair and create furniture, in the case of these bees, they obviously can not make use of tools, except their mouth.

So, the answer to the question, are carpenter bees good? Is no! In my opinion, this is because these species of bees have a thing for attacking woods.

Should you kill carpenter bees? Why?

Are Carpenter Bees Good

Well, one thing is certain about carpenter bees, and that is the fact that they are a serious threat to your wooden properties.

Like I stated earlier, they seem to derive joy from burrowing holes in your wooden property.

This could be very annoying. However, is this reason enough to kill these carpenter bees? No, I don’t think so, and my reason is that the carpenter bee isn’t all bad.

Carpenter bees are proven native pollinators, and they are an important part of the ecosystem.

They pollinate flowers, feed birds, and increase the yield of certain plant species. So, as annoying as they are, they serve quite some importance.

Related: Here is an article I wrote about bees and whether they need water

Do carpenter bees do anything good?

Carpenter bees are large yellow and black insects that are quite popular for the damage they cause to woods.

They excavate nests, commonly called galleries, along the direction of the wood grain.

They do surprisingly little structural damage this way; however, the value of these creatures far outweighs the damage they could cause.

Carpenter bees are native pollinators, they can vibrate their flight muscles at specific frequencies while visiting flowers, and this, in turn, vibrates the flower and dislodges pollen.

Certain plants and fruits such as tomatoes, blueberries, eggplants, and cranberries all benefit greatly from this type of pollination and produce larger fruit in greater quantities when buzz pollinated.

Are carpenter bees dangerous?

It’s normal to be scared of bees, especially because of their sting.

But one thing worthy of note is the fact that there are various species of bees, and they all have different characteristics.

The carpenter bee has a knack for destroying wood, which means that it is just like other household insects.

Still, it wouldn’t be wrong to be told categorically if they are dangerous or not.

Anyway, this question is quite tricky. So, I’ll just explain and let you decide if they are dangerous or not.

The male carpenter bees do not sting, however, they are territorial and often times are the gender of carpenter bees that most humans come into contact with.

The male carpenter bees will hover around people, especially because they are attracted to sudden movements, but they do no harm to them, except create unnecessary fear.

The female carpenter bees sting; however, this happens only on very rare occasions and they mostly require provocation before they sting.  

Are carpenter bees harmful to wood?

Carpenter bees technically bore holes into wood, but they do not systematically destroy a structure like termites or carpenter ants.

So, I guess this could vindicate them from the allegations of being destructive to wood.

However, if we want to talk about them being harmful to wood, we might not be getting a definite answer again, and this is because the “harmful” we mean here is quite relative.

Can you bear one or two holes being born into your wood by these bees?

If you can, then I guess the answer for you would be no, but if you cannot, then you might just go with the fact that they are harmful to wood.

Should I worry about carpenter bees?

It could be sad to find that your precious furniture has been attacked by a burrowing carpenter bee, and this might leave you worried, especially if you aren’t aware of how much damage has been caused.

The holes that these carpenter bees bore on woods typically go inward for about an inch, then the tunnel turns and follows the grain of the wood for about six more inches.

You might also find that the tunnel might branch into smaller ones that are shared by multiple bees.

However, you shouldn’t be worried if the infestation on your wood is limited to a tunnel or two.

Does vinegar kill carpenter bees?

If you really would like to kill the carpenter bees in your wood and also get them to stay away, then yes, vinegar can kill the carpenter bees, but it can not do the work alone.

For vinegar to work, you should prepare it with the following ingredients: one tablespoon of pure (99%) rubbing alcohol, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and 5 to 6 drops of lavender essential oil and 6 drops of Tea tree oil into a spray bottle.

Close the lid and shake it well, and spray directly on the bees.

Now, each of these ingredients has its importance because they will work in different ways to ensure that the bees are killed and more do not return.

The oils will act as repellants and keep the Carpenter Bees away while the rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar will kill the insects.

Are carpenter bees bad for your home?

Homeowners look at carpenter bees differently.

While some homeowners may not be bothered about one or two holes in their wood, especially since that isn’t much of a damage, others might be.

Truly, the activities of the carpenter bees could cause extensive damage to wooden structures within your home, and threaten their integrity, however, you as the homeowner gets to decide if they are bad for your home or not.

Does Dawn dish soap kill carpenter bees?

There are various ways to kill carpenter bees and different things to use.

A vinegar solution which I stated earlier can be used to kill carpenter bees, however, a dawn dish soap can also do the job.

So, fill a squirt bottle with about a quarter full of dawn dish soap and then top fill with water.

Squirt bees on sight and into any holes with your solution. It kills them and it’s non-toxic compared to exterminators.

What should I do about carpenter bees?

Well, if you already have carpenter bees at work in your woods, there are a few things that you might be able to do about them.

Here are some of the things you can do below

Fill up abandoned Holes: fill holes created by carpenter bees with a bit of steel wool, a wad of aluminum foil, a dowel and wood glue, or even caulk.

After filling the holes completely, you could paint over them.

Treat Active Holes: If you have holes in your woods that are still active, you may want to treat the holes with a targeted dose of insecticide first.

The best time to treat the holes is at night when bees are resting, or in early spring while they’re still hibernating.

Products such as pyrethrum, boric acid, carbaryl (Sevin), or any spray labelled for flying insects will do the trick.

Avoid Wood Treatments: Since carpenter bees don’t actually eat wood, treating it doesn’t do much good.

Stay Alert: There’s no way to completely prevent or eliminate carpenter bees. But by taking these steps and staying alert to a new activity, you can keep damage to a minimum.


Technically, carpenter bees are not completely bad. Their use is greater than the effect they create when they bore holes in the woods.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox