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Woodpeckers and Carpenter Bees

By Chris Williams on May 6, 2011.

Q. Help! Woodpeckers are destroying our house! In the last week or so, woodpeckers have been attacking our cedar siding and pecking holes. We can’t seem to scare them away. They’re right back. How can we get them to leave our house alone?

A. While woodpeckers peck on buildings for a number of reasons, one being to attract mates, I suspect that your main problem could be carpenter bees. Carpenter bees and woodpeckers are two pests that frequently go together. In spring, carpenter bees construct nest sites in wood in which the larvae develop. Woodpeckers can detect the fat, juicy larvae inside the wood and do their best to peck them out!
woodpeckerWhen constructing a nest, carpenter bees chew perfectly round tunnels into soft, weathered woods like cedar, preferring woods that are not painted or stained. You may have noticed the large, black and yellow bees buzzing about your house or you may have seen the dime-sized entrance holes in the wood. The female carpenter bee constructs an average of 6 larval cells inside the tunnel and provisions each one with a pollen ball for the developing larvae to feed on. The larvae develop inside the wood, emerging as adult carpenter bees in late summer.

Unfortunately, the woodpeckers are very determined to reach the larvae. They can actually detect the presence of the larvae inside the wood and will peck away at the nest opening, often causing considerable damage. Woodpeckers are protected birds so keeping them away from carpenter bee nest sites usually involves either repelling them or excluding them by blocking the area. Unless measures are taken to repel the woodpeckers, they can continue to work a bee nest site for awhile even after the nest has been treated and carpenter bee larvae killed. Pecking will eventually stop once woodpeckers are no longer able to detect the movement of live larvae inside the wood.

Only an inspection by a pro can tell whether carpenter bees are the source of your woodpecker problem. Call Colonial. We can get rid of the bees and can advise carpenter-beeyou on how to prevent carpenter bees from nesting on your house in the future. Even if we don’t find carpenter bees, we still have some tricks to keep
woodpeckers away from your house.

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