Q&A / 

Repairing Carpenter Bee Damage

Repairing Carpenter Bee Damage

The holes that carpenter bees create are fairly easy to repair. You have numerous options. Fortunately the holes are almost always the same diameter. But, the bees can be highly destructive if they are related to the ones that have attacked my gutter boards. In several areas, I have visible channels or grooves that have been cut into the wood. The darn bees got too close to the surface and actually cut through.

Corks, Dowels, Latex Wood Filler & Caulk

Once you are fairly certain the bees are gone you can start to plug the holes. Hardware stores sell dowel rods that are usually 3 feet long and are different diameters. I am certain you can find a dowel rod that will fit fairly snugly into the holes. Once you match one up, you cut 3/4 inch long pieces that you will tap into the holes after you have coated them with wood glue. If you take your time, you will be able to tap the plug so it is perfectly flush and requires no sanding.

Another method that works well involves cork. Some hardware stores sell small diameter corks. You can tap these into the holes and because of their conical shape, they stay in place by their friction fit. The cork can be left flush with the surface of the wood or you can recess it slightly and fill the void with exterior spackling compound or latex wood filler.

Caulk is a product that can be used to repair holes, but I stay away from it. The holes that the bees produce are often 1/2 inch or so in diameter. When you caulk holes this large the caulk either shrinks and leaves a depression or it droops from the hole after you get down from the ladder. In either event it is an also-ran in my opinion.

I prefer to use wood dowel rods and/or latex wood filler. The latex wood filler products have minimal shrinkage, dry quickly and sand easily.

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