How to Protect Wood Siding From Carpenter Bees

How to Protect Wood Siding From Carpenter Bees

As destructive as carpenter bees tend to be, they also exist as nature’s friendly ally. Carpenter bees play a vital role in nature’s delicate dance by contributing to a significant chunk of the environment’s agriculture pollination. 

Their drilling tendencies, however, have homeowners seeking a balance between preservation and protection. With a nod to the global concern over declining bee populations, the quest for safeguarding wood siding involves understanding the bees and embracing natural strategies to keep your home intact without disrupting the intricate ecological ballet. 

So, let’s explore how you can shield your abode from carpenter bees while ensuring not to completely terminate them. 


Telltale Signs of Carpenter Bees

If you’re looking for sure signs to help you know that your wood siding is being infected with carpenter bees.

  • Sawdust Piles: A clear indicator of carpenter bee activity is the presence of small, scattered piles of sawdust or loose shavings near wooden surfaces. These piles signal the bees’ woodworking endeavors.
  • Auditory Clues: Listen for muffled buzzing within the wood as carpenter bees meticulously carve their tunnels. Additionally, watch for sizable, lightly fuzzy bees navigating around wooden eaves, fencing, or decks.
  • Bee Droppings: When you see dark, sticky stains encircling holes, they indicate the presence of carpenter bees. These yellowish-brown or black marks are telltale signs of bee discharge.
  • Distinct Holes: Carpenter bee drillings are approximately 1/2 inch in diameter, perfectly round, and often resembling the work of a power tool. Check for these holes in unpainted softwoods like pine, cedar, redwood, or even hardwoods like oak.
  • Preferred Nesting Sites: Carpenter bees favor drilling into various wooden structures, including roof shingles, fascia boards, eaves, decks, fence posts, and outdoor furniture. 

Unpainted softwoods are their top choice, but some species venture into hardwoods. They nest in dead trees, stumps, and logs in natural settings.

How You Can Protect Your Wood Siding From Carpenter Bees

  • Paint Your Wood

As simple as it may sound, safeguarding your wood siding from carpenter bees begins with a paint stroke. Coating fences, decks, and other potential nesting spots create a chemical barrier that helps discourage the infestation of bees. 

However, you should know that although painting is a good recommendation, it is not always a sure deterrent for bees. You may need to make use of other protection strategies. Continue reading to find out what other procedures you can follow. 


  • Use Citrus Essential Oil

You can use the natural power of citrus essential oil to safeguard your wood siding from carpenter bees. Carpenter bees are sensitive to citrus scents like orange, lemon, lime, lemongrass, bergamot, and grapefruit, so they prefer to steer clear of them. 

Safely incorporate citrus into your defense strategy by covering exposed wooden surfaces with a homemade citrus spray in early spring. You can make this spray by boiling sliced citrus fruit in water and transferring the cooled mixture to a spray bottle. For optimal results, apply this solution to your wood surface several times weekly for a few weeks.

You can further enhance the defense by strategically placing citronella torches and planting citrus or citrus-scented herbs near your home. Though labor-intensive, this aromatic shield complements other preventive measures for a comprehensive carpenter bee deterrent.

  • Install Chimes or Speakers

Strategically hanging robust wind chimes or anything prone to vibrating in breezy areas can redirect carpenter bees away from potential nesting spots. 

Surprisingly, it’s not the chime’s sound but the vibration that disrupts and discourages the intruding bees. You can extend this concept further by installing outdoor speakers in areas prone to bee infestation. 

Regularly playing music or podcasts introduces vibrations that are disorienting enough to dissuade bees from nesting or even prompt them to abandon existing nests. So, make use of the outdoor sound system as both entertainment and a powerful carpenter bee deterrent.


  • Seal the Holes

You can protect your wood siding from carpenter bee invasion by strategically sealing the holes they’ve made on your wood siding. To do this, you will need to track their life cycle to the appropriate time. 

Generally, these bees hatch a new generation in late summer. So, you can use this opportunity to seal the holes in September when most of them have vacated their nests. 

However, before sealing the holes, you should ensure your safety by using a bee repellent to expel any bee lurking around. Once you know their exit, seal holes with wood putty or a glue-coated wooden dowel. 

The key here is to ensure to act after all the bees have departed in order to prevent re-infestation. This simple yet crucial step will help safeguard your home.



Don’t let carpenter bees compromise the quality of your cedar siding. Contact Longhouse Cedar today for more advice on protecting your custom-cut cedar products and to explore our range of high-quality, durable cedar solutions. Your home deserves the best protection; let us help you ensure it stays beautiful for years.